Copyright Karen Ullo. All rights reserved.
The St. Joseph Altar—or, learning to love the culture you married into
I have a confession to make: I’ve been Catholic all my life, and I had never heard of a St. Joseph Altar until about ten years ago, when I married a man of Sicilian descent. He’s as much an American from South Louisiana as I am, but my cultural heritage is French, while he’s a Ullo from a town called Marrero. The number of vowels in those two words ought to tell you that his grandparents often seasoned vats of homemade tomato sauce with Italian prayers and buried statues of St. Joseph upside down when they wanted to sell a house—another tradition this Cajun girl had never heard of until I married into the tribe. I didn’t even know St. Joseph was the patron of Sicily, much less any of the finer points of the devotion.