Saint Joseph and the Meaning of Work

When Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 1955, he was attempting to honor both the chaste spouse of our Lady and all those who emulate him by his spirit of selfless work.

But how do we define work, which Saint John Paul II described in Laborem exercens as “a fundamental dimension of man’s existence on earth” and “a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question”? What does it mean to say that work is a source of “human toil and suffering, and also of the harm and injustice which penetrate deeply into social life” and simultaneously, in the words of Pope Francis, “a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment”?

In the first collaboration between The Lamp magazine and the IHE, moderated by Joseph Capizzi, panelists Eve Tushnet, Rob WyllieNick Cotta, and IHE Fellow Adrian Walker will discuss the meaning of work and its relationship to both natural law and the saints from a variety of overlapping Catholic perspectives in response to the Holy Father’s call for us to arrive at “a correct understanding of work.”