St. Joseph’s Cord
The devotion of wearing this cord in honour of St Joseph was approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on September 19, 1859, and it was also blessed and approved by Pope Pius IX. Graces obtained by the wearing of this Cord are as follows:
Saint Joseph’s special protection;
Purity of soul,
The grace of chastity,
Particular assistance at the hour of death.
The Cord should be of thread or cotton, with seven knots at one end, and should be worn around the waist. It should be blessed by a priest (see blessing prayers below). One who wears the Cord should recite the Glory be to the Father seven times daily in honour of St. Joseph, together with the prayer for purity below (From book: ‘Favorite prayers to St. Joseph’, p. 6)
Prayer For Purity
O Guardian of Virgins and holy Father Saint Joseph, into whose faithful keeping were entrusted Christ Jesus, Innocence itself, and Mary, Virgin of virgins, I pray and beseech thee by these dear pledges Jesus and Mary, that, being preserved from all uncleanness, I may with spotless mind, pure heart and chaste body ever serve Jesus and Mary most chastely all the days of my life. Amen.
Words of Saint Thomas Aquinas on St Joseph:
“Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron Saint Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.”
The cincture, like the one priests wear at Mass, is a sign of chastity, and has been since the Church's beginning -and before. Old Testament priests wore cinctures, consecrated Virgins and religious wear cinctures, and the wearing of cinctures in honour of a particular Saint is ancient, first spoken of in the life of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, and carried on by St. Dominic. Certain Confraternities and Archconfraternities (groups of faithful devoted to a religious cause) also wear cinctures as signs of their affiliation and chastity.
The Cord itself is simply a white cord of thread or cotton, knotted in 7 places (one knot for each of the 7 Sorrows of St. Joseph and their related Joys) and should be blessed by a priest..
The cincture or Cord of St. Joseph originated in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1657 with the miraculous cure of a devout Augustinian nun named Sister Elizabeth. After a severe and painful illness of three years’ duration, the physicians had given up hope of curing her and expected her soon to die. But Sister Elizabeth, having always been devoted to St. Joseph, made a cord, had it blessed in the Saint’s honor and put it around her waist. A few days later, when praying before his statue, she was suddenly freed from pain. Her recovery was considered miraculous. Eventually the devotion of the cord spread, and numerous special graces were obtained through its devout use. The cord was used not merely as a remedy against bodily ailments, but also as a spiritual aid to preserve the virtue of purity. The devotion was approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on September 19, 1859, and it was also blessed and approved by Pope Pius IX.
Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys of Saint Joseph
1. The doubt of St. Joseph (Matt. 1:19).......... The message of the Angel (Matt. 1:20)
2. The poverty of Jesus' birth (Luke 2:7)......... The birth of the Saviour (Luke 2:10-11)
3. The Circumcision (Luke 2:21)..................... The Holy Name of Jesus (Matt. 1:25)
4. The prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34).......... The effects of the Redemption (Luke 2:38)
5. The flight into Egypt (Matt. 2:14)................. The overthrow of the idols of Egypt (Is. 19:1)
6. The return from Egypt (Matt. 2:22).............. Life with Jesus and Mary at Nazareth (Luke 2:39)
7. The loss of the Child Jesus (Luke 2:45)........ The finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:46)
Priest's Blessing of Chastity Cord
V: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R: Who made heaven and earth.
V: The Lord be with you.
R: And with your spirit
V: Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, who gave us the counsel and love of virginity, and gave the precept of chastity, we appeal to Thy kindness, asking that You bless and hallow this cincture as a token of purity. Let he who girds himself with it as a safeguard of chastity be enabled, by the prayers of Saint Joseph, spouse of Your holy Mother, to practice that continence which is so pleasing to You, and to live in obedience to Your commandments. May he also obtain pardon of his sins, health in mind and body, and finally attain everlasting life. We ask this of You who live and reigns with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.
V:Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, grant, we pray, that those who revere the inviolate virginity of the most pure Virgin Mary and of Saint Joseph, her spouse, may by their prayers be pure in mind and body; through Christ our Lord.
Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, who committed the boy Jesus and the most pure Mary, ever a Virgin, to the care of the chaste man Saint Joseph, we humbly entreat Thee that those who are girded with this cincture in honour of Saint Joseph and under his patronage may, by Your help and his prayers, persevere in holy chastity for all time; through Christ our Lord.
Let us pray.
God, the lover and restorer of innocence, we pray that Your faithful who are to wear this cincture may, by the prayers of Saint Joseph, spouse of Your holy Mother, have his loins girded and hold burning lamps in his hands, and thus be likened to men who wait for their Lord when He shall return for a wedding, that when He comes and knocks he may open to Him, and be found worthy of being taken into everlasting joys; through You who live and reign forever and ever.
Then the priest sprinkles the cincture with holy water, and says:
Sprinkle me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean of sin. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
V: Save Your servants.
R: Who trust in You, my God.
V: Lord, send them aid from Your holy place.
R: And watch over them from Sion.
V: Lord, heed my prayer. R: And let my cry be heard by You.
V: The Lord be with you. R: And with your spirit.
Let us pray.
O God of mercy, God of goodness, You are pleased with all good things, and without whom no good work is begun, no good work is finished; kindly hear our prayers, and defend Your faithful, who is to wear this blessed cincture in honour of Saint Joseph and under his protection, from the snares of this world and all its lusts. Help him to persist in his holy resolution and to obtain pardon of his sins, and thus merit to be numbered among Your elect; through Christ our Lord.