Unemployment, cancer... The earthly father of Jesus has helped them in many ways, and they’re happy to tell others about his intercession.
Just one verse each day.
Barbara Kociok — a psychotherapist by profession — has known St. Joseph for a long time. She lives in Kalisz, Poland, where there’s a shrine to St. Joseph that was recently declared a national shrine. However, she has been friends with him since her childhood years, and he has an important place in her life and prayers.
Slowly discovering St. Joseph
“Those first prayers to St. Joseph were taught to me by my grandparents. And thus St. Joseph began to reveal himself to me,” Barbara says.
As a teenager, she prayed for a good husband, and as she says with a smile: “I do have a good husband! We’ve been married for 24 years. We have three daughters and two more children in heaven. We’ve had a son-in-law for less than two years and a granddaughter for a month. St. Joseph has obtained many graces for us in our marriage.“
Barbara’s husband Paul was looking for a new and better job. The search lasted a whole year, during which he prayed the Litany of St. Joseph, patiently waiting for a good job opportunity. Finally, there was information about an opening for the perfect position for him. It appeared while they were on pilgrimage in Medjugorje, and he sent his resume from there. “It was a sign from God for us!” says Barbara. Since then, her husband has been working in that very job.
St. Joseph’s much greater intervention, however, was still to come.
“Six years ago I was diagnosed with cancer,” recalls Barbara. It was discovered after a personal tragedy: “We wanted to have another child, but unfortunately I had a miscarriage.”
After the miscarriage, a life-threatening cancer was discovered in her body. At this time God began to remind Barbara of St. Joseph. On Divine Mercy Sunday, her family prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for her. Thus fortified, she went to the hospital for chemotherapy. People who met her there were amazed by her strength and hope. “They asked me how I had this strength in me, so that I wasn’t afraid of the chemo,” she recalls. Unfortunately, much tougher experiences awaited her.
A message from heaven
“May 13 of that year was the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. There, she asked us to offer up our sufferings. I took this invitation to heart and offered up my suffering for the souls in purgatory and those far from God.” Still, it didn’t get any easier, and the illness refused to go away.
That’s when St. Joseph stepped in.
Barbara’s priest friend suggested that she participate in a novena to St. Joseph. It consisted of nine Masses offered for her intention. Shortly thereafter, after returning from another hospital visit, Barbara began praying to her unborn child for help. “I asked my baby to intercede for me with God,” said Ms. Kociok, “ and ask for the graces I needed.” An image then appeared in her mind. “I saw a baby’s tiny hand handing me something. Something small and brown. I thought it was chocolate. A blue ribbon was tied on the child’s hand.”
Tired from the whole day and the hospital visit, Barbara fell asleep.
Scapular of St. Joseph
Upon awakening, she told her husband about what she had seen. Not half an hour had passed when someone knocked on their door. It was a priest friend.
“He brought me the scapular of St. Joseph. That’s what my ‘chocolate’ was — a brown piece of cloth! And on it is an image of Joseph holding Jesus in a blue robe!”
After receiving the scapular, Barbara continued her fight against the disease. And it didn’t get easier, but even harder. One day she felt an unusually severe pain in her abdomen. It turned out that she had suffered a hemorrhage, although doctors were unable to diagnose what exactly was going on. She began going from hospital to hospital seeking help.
“I give myself to you. Do something!”
“In the morning, when I was lying in the hospital bed where I was receiving a blood transfusion, my husband Paul was sitting next to me. I then prayed to St. Joseph, ‘You are the patron saint of life and death, and no matter what happens, I give myself to you. Do something!’ To everyone’s surprise, I began to recover!“
Although no one knew what had happened and her condition was serious, she began to recover swiftly. Soon Barbara went to a hospital in Poznan where she was treated with chemotherapy, and it had very good results. She received two more chemo treatments and finished her treatment for the disease, recovering fully.
“I asked God why this had happened to me. After all, I was supposed to go on a retreat and preach Him to others, but instead I chose to take my last chemo.“
Barbara talked to one of the other patients about it. She recounted her plans to preach Jesus and her regrets about being at the hospital instead. Her fellow patient’s answer changed her view of the situation. “The woman then said to me: ‘You were here for me. The Lord God put you on my path for us to pray together, for you to tell me about His love for you and others.’”
“My husband and I call ourselves St. Joseph’s Children of Special Care,” laughs Barbara, “We ask for something all the time and he helps us.” They don’t keep this a secret for themselves, but share it with others. When we first contacted her, she wrote, “I would be honored to have another opportunity to talk about how St. Joseph works in our lives.” It certainly brings honor to St. Joseph as well.