The Shrine of St. Joseph was established in 1924 by the Rev. Thomas Augustine Judge. The Shrine was placed under the patronage of St. Joseph since this extraordinary Saint offers inspiration for the laity who struggle to preserve the vitality of their faith in a societal environment little supportive of Gospel values. The Shrine is a spiritual refuge fostering an “apostolic spirituality” that call pilgrims to a greater collaborative role in the mission of the Church, and in particular to the issues addressed by Catholic social teaching.
From its earliest inception, the Shrine has tried to provide and promote an atmosphere of quiet where its beautiful natural environment might speak eloquently to all who come about the beauty and presence of God our Creator.
The Shrine was originally housed in a barn converted into a rustic chapel in 1928. Devotions held each Sunday in honor of the Patron, St. Joseph, began in that year and have continued without interruption up to the present. Our beautiful chapel, outdoor shrines, outdoor Stations of the Cross and the 9/11 Tower of Remembrance offer pilgrims a meditative atmosphere.
In 1970, the old wooden residence building was replaced. Five years later came the most extensive change to the Shrine campus. The rustic wooden barn – chapel finally succumbed to weather and termites and was replaced by the present stone chapel complex on the brow of the hill overlooking the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The same year marks the arrival of the Sister Servants of Jesus; coming from their native Poland to assist in the ministry of the Shrine.
In more recent years, the former St. Joseph Villa, established by Fr. Judge for the treatment of clergy suffering from the disease of alcoholism, and just a few minutes from the main campus, was placed under the care of the Shrine. Restored and renamed Trinity House, this home is now used for retreats and spiritual programs.
In 2014, a new mission plan for the Shrine was inaugurated. This plan, built upon several “pillars of ministry” brings renewed energy and focuses the Shrine of St. Joseph as a place of spiritual formation and as a mission center committed to responding to the pressing needs of the Church and our world.