*Fifteen Traditions about Joseph and Mary
This list draws on traditions that are mostly forgotten today. They were however well known during the time of the Early Church Fathers. They can be considered small “t” tradition for those of the Catholic faith.
1) Mary and Joseph are cousins. Joseph’s father Jacob and Mary’s mother Anne were brother and sister.
2) Joachim and Anne were unable to conceive a child. After twenty years of prayers, Anne conceived and bore Mary. Both had promised to dedicate their child to God if he answered their prayers.
3) At the age of three, Mary was sent by her parents to live in the Temple as a dedication to God.
4) Joseph was approximately ten to fifteen years older than Mary.
5) As a young man, Joseph secretly swore a vow of celibacy.
6) As a young girl living in the Temple, Mary secretly swore a vow of celibacy.
7) At this time in Israel, many were rushing into marriage in the hope that they would be chosen by God to give birth to the Messiah.
8) During her time in the Temple, Mary’s father, Joachim, died.
9) Zachary, the husband of Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, was among the Priests to call for Mary to be married after her father’s death.
10) Joseph, along with others, was summoned to the Temple, to be the chosen spouse of Mary. The choice was made by lot, each man delivering his staff to the High Priest. The next morning, Joseph’s staff had blossomed with a lily growing from it.
11) Mary was informed by God that Joseph had taken a vow of celibacy. If Mary accepted Joseph as her husband she could keep her vow also.
12) Mary was free to marry Joseph or she could refuse. God would not force her decision.
13) Joseph was informed in a dream that Mary had taken a vow of celibacy and he thus was able to maintain his vow and still marry Mary.
14) The time between their Betrothal and Espousal was two months.
15) Joseph became the guardian of Anne, Mary’s mother, upon his marriage to Mary.
*Reference: The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph by Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.