Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 24 June |
The Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

What does JMJ stand for?

Philip Kosloski - published on 07/10/20

JMJ is a Catholic abbreviation used by many to dedicate a letter or work to Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

One custom that grew in popularity during the 19th and 20th centuries was writing the letters JMJ at the top of every letter or at the start of every book or written work. Archbishop Fulton Sheen is one of the most widely known public figures who frequently used that abbreviation in every television appearance.

What does JMJ stand for?

JMJ is a Catholic abbreviation used by many to dedicate a letter, book or work to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is both an abbreviation and a prayer.

IHS Crucifix

Read more:
What does the IHS monogram mean?

Archbishop Fulton Sheen briefly explained how he used the abbreviation in his autobiography, Treasure in Clay.

As a custom which started in kindergarten, I always wrote ‘JMJ’ at the top of the blackboard, as I do on every piece of paper before I write — and which I hope will someday be on my tombstone. In answer to many letters, the public finally recognized me and the words Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

It is a custom that saints such as St. Therese of Lisieux adopted as well. She would put at the top of every letter, JMJT, which adds “Teresa” to it, in honor of St. Teresa of Avila.

Writing JMJ at the top of every letter or email that you write is meant to be a reminder to offer it up to Jesus, Mary and Joseph, often asking for their guidance in what you are about to write.

With Jesus, Mary and Joseph at our side, it is less likely that we will write something nasty in our letter, remembering that our words should be pleasing to them.

Make sure to visit the slideshow below to discover some symbols used by early Christians, and which we still use today. 

CatechismSpiritual Life
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Zoe Romanowsky
Animated film shows the power of fatherhood in just one minute
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Zelda Caldwell
Catholic priest’s chapel is finalist in “Shed of the Year&#...
Philip Kosloski
Can Catholics use the Enneagram personality system?
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
4 Ways to understand God as Father
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.