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5 Famous Josephs in history you may not know


Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Cerith Gardiner - published on 03/19/22

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Today is the feast of St. Joseph, and while Jesus’ earthly father is undoubtedly the most inspirational Joseph who ever lived, there have been a few other Josephs whose impressive lives and careers have left a lasting impact.

Joseph Haydn

The Austrian composer’s contribution to classical music was significant in the 18th century, especially in the development of the string quartet and the symphony. As a little boy, he left home at the tender age of five to begin his musical training, both with instruments and as a choir boy.

J.M.W. Turner

Another child prodigy, Joseph Mallord William Turner was one of the most prominent Romantic painters of his time. The prolific artist left behind a huge collection of artwork at his death, including 550 oil paintings and 2,000 watercolors. He was a gifted artist who captured the sheer beauty and power in God’s creation in many of his paintings.

J.J. Thomson

While you might not have heard of Sir Joseph John Thomson, the British physicist made the important discovery of the electron, the first subatomic particle. He also received the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on electricity and gases. Interestingly, the devout Anglican passed on his passion for physics to his son, George, who also went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Joseph Lister

This British surgeon was a trailblazer in antiseptic surgery. It was his work on bacteria and wound infections that revolutionized surgical practice worldwide. While he wasn’t renowned for his surgery skills, his ability to make surgery sterile led to fewer post-operative infections. A Quaker, his contribution to medicine and preventative medicine led him to be called the “father of modern surgery.

Joseph Pitton de Tournefort

This French botanist was set to enter the priesthood, having studied at a Jesuit convent. However, when his father died he decided to focus his attention on God’s creation in a different way by becoming a botanist. It was thanks to his meticulous observations and impressive collection of plants that he was able to come up with a clear definition between plant genus and species.

Interestingly, the field of botany attracted a few other Josephs who were also renowned botanists, such as Joseph Banks and Joseph Dalton Hooker.

Devotions and FeastsSaint Joseph
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