The patron of this place.
Today is my dad's birthday. The statue in the photo was given to me by an antique dealer a couple of days after my father's death, he said he hoped St. Joseph could be the dad I needed to fix all the pain. Larry had no idea that St. Joseph was indeed my special patron, and he seemed to be rather pleased with himself that he made me such a gift. Larry was an antique dealer for whom I often worked, restoring paintings and doing painted finishes on furniture, as well as painting numerous icons for him to use in his home, and sell. He was fun to work for because he dealt in such fine objects. A curious little guy, quite perverted, but as he was dying of AIDS, he converted. He had been terribly abused as a child, and persecuted for his effeminate manner - he reminded me of Truman Capote and I at first thought he was insipid. That was as a customer - he had some of the finest antiques in town, much of it European and tons of religious artifacts.
Larry himself was very religious - one of those tortured souls addicted to sexual depravity, yet striving for sanctity. As I got to know him I realized he must have suffered from mental illness, in addition to his homosexual compulsion. Once I was upstairs working on an 18th century Italian painted cabinet, decorated in lacca povera - printed paper figures and scenes used to simulate hand painted court furniture - I used antique scrap to restore it and lacquered over it - hence the term lacca. (It is kind of like decoupage, but classier.) Anyway, I'd be working upstairs and downstairs Larry would be servicing clients - if you know what I mean. Then he'd repent. He always tried to be good in my presence however, and he'd put away the pornography whenever I had to work in his shop. I sat with him praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet out loud as his health declined and he got closer to death, that seemed to console him. I became very fond of him, and continue to pray for him. He died an Anglican.
Anyway - today is my dad's birthday. I wish I could have been closer to him as well. I look back and see that I was very self-righteous in his regard, and held a grudge. How odd, I could overlook so much about Larry and yet held my dad to a strict accounting. I pray very much for him now, and spiritually place my self at his death bed, praying as if he were just now dying - letting him know I love him and that all is forgiven.
Please excuse me - I always get a little nuts on the anniversaries of my parent's death. Be with the dying if you can, pray for the dying, and always love and forgive them if you can.
"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.