Table of Contents
Practicing Feng Shui, eliminating the use of zeros in your list price, remembering to never open umbrellas inside, and burying a statue of St. Joseph in the garden – are just a few of the many “good-luck” traditions recommended to homeowners trying to sell their house.
Some of these are home-specific (such as Feng Shui) while others are linked directly to selling property (like St. Joseph’s statue). As anyone who’s tried to sell a home knows, it’s not always easy to find willing buyers during certain seasons or market trends. Home sales can be incredibly stressful – from assessing costs to finding where to buy moving boxes and packing – which explains why many turn to good-luck rituals to increase their chance of home sales.
One tradition commonly practiced is burying a statue of St. Joseph. Hundreds of stories on the internet proclaim this ritual’s validity – but does it really work? And if so, why? We’ve investigated the history behind burying a St. Joseph statue, the tradition itself, and the anecdotes claiming it works.
Here’s what we found….
History of the St. Joseph Statue
Burying St. Joseph is an interesting and widespread tradition utilized by home sellers and realtors alike. Whether you heard about St. Joseph from a family member, realtor, or happened upon it when perusing the internet, you’re probably wondering where such an odd tradition originated, and what its usefulness may be to you when trying to sell your property.
You may also have other questions or concerns. For example, isn’t it disrespectful to bury a statue of such a revered individual? Why St. Joseph, and not another significant saint?
While the specifics of this tactic might have been blurred over time, we’ll do our best to uncover the origins and other interesting facts about this tradition as they have been recorded, as well as the underlying reasons why it came about in the first place.
Origins of the tradition
In order to understand the tradition of burying a St. Joseph statue as a means of helping a property sell, it’s important to first understand the role of St. Joseph in Catholic theology.
St. Joseph was the father of Christ. In the early years of his time fathering Jesus, he and his family fled to Egypt to escape genocide. Because of this, St. Joseph is revered as a loving, caring father, who looks after families and protects them. He’s also believed to care for families who are uprooted, looking for a home, or in need of shelter.
Thus, when selling a house, it’s only natural to pray to the patron saint of families when searching for a home (i.e. St. Joseph).
The tradition of burying a St. Joseph statue in order to sell property began in the 16th century. During that time, a devoted nun – St. Teresa of Avila – desired to build another convent to house her town’s growing community of nuns. There was a specific property St. Teresa was interested in; unfortunately, the sellers were resistant to selling their land to the convent.
St. Teresa, remembering how St. Joseph helped his family find a new home in Egypt, considered praying to him to ask for a new home for the nuns. However, she decided to take this a step further: St. Teresa buried a medal with the image of St. Joseph in the ground at the convent. Not long after she did this, the sellers offered St. Teresa the land she needed for the new convent.
Yet despite the success of St. Thersa’s tactic, there were no known (or rather documented) cases of this particular strategy being employed up until around the mid-1800s when Brother Andre in Quebec needed land for a new chapel. He was interested in a specific lot – but the sellers refused to sign the land over to him. Remembering St. Teresa’s medal burial, Brother Andre also buried St. Joseph and prayed for more land. Shortly after, the sellers changed their mind, and Brother Andre purchased the land he needed for a chapel.
And there you have it. The advent, and successful use, of burying the statue of St. Joseph was born.
Popularization of this tactic
The widespread tradition of burying a St. Joseph statue wasn’t well documented until the 1900s. Through the 1900s, however, it became a minor superstition practiced by a growing number of individuals. By the 1990s, for reasons difficult to pinpoint, this tradition exploded in popularity.
During the ‘90s statues of St. Joseph were sold by the thousands, with countless homeowners sharing stories of successful home sales, all thanks to St. Joseph. On the internet these stories circulated and took on a life of their own, spreading like wildfire and helping grow the “superstition” and its popularity among believers and non-believers alike.
After all, it couldn’t hurt right?
Which brings us to today. All these years later the trend of burying St. Joseph is still going strong, more than 30 years after its introduction to mainstream realty.
If your real estate agent happens to be Catholic, or even if they aren’t, they may have told you about the tradition of burying St. Joseph. Likewise you shouldn’t be all that surprised if a friend or colleague gives you a statue of St. Joseph to bury as a good-luck gift.
Does It Really Help To Sell Your House?
Hundreds of anecdotal stories seem to point to the success of St. Joseph in the sale of a house. Some praise St. Joseph’s ability to sell a house quickly, while others believe burying the statue was instrumental in securing a cash offer or an offer higher than their asking price.
However, while we don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, anecdotes and individual cases are not scientific. They can be falsified, coincidental, biased, or exaggerated.
So, is it realistic to expect St. Joseph to help sell your house?
Unfortunately, burying a St. Joseph statue for home sales has no scientific basis. Even many Catholics don’t believe this ritual will help sell your home faster. It’s likely gained popularity because waiting for a home to sell is stressful and can be financially difficult. When all other methods have been exhausted, praying to a kind, fatherly saint is reassuring – and better than waiting for home buyers’ opinions and market trends to sell a house.
Yet there are those, like Chris, who found the statue incredibly helpful. “After years of trying to sell a vacant lot I owned with no luck I came across a number of articles about the St. Joseph statue to sell homes,” he said. “I purchased one in November 2016 and buried it next to the For Sale sign. In mid-January the called to say she had a buyer and the property was closed on yesterday for the price I needed.”
Others found it less helpful. “I heard about it and bought a small, inexpensive statuette off the internet and buried it according to instructions last August,” says one homeowner. “Alas, St Joe is still staring at the ‘For Sale’ sign [almost one year later] so he hasn’t worked any magic for me.”
There is little or no harm in burying the statue for entertainment, or “just to see if it works,” but it shouldn’t be a home seller’s only method to sell their home. If a house isn’t selling, it may be better to consider investing in other methods to speed home sales.
For example, landscaping alone can increase the value of a home by tens of thousands of dollars. If you’d like a smaller upgrade, Zillow found that painting your front door grey or black can increase your home value by $6,000. Simply changing out your light bulbs for the brightest LEDs available can add an attractive openness and brightness to your home. For busy pet owners and parents of young children, it may be helpful to hire a cleaning service before an open house or important showing.
It’s fine to bury the statue to see if it works for you, have some fun with your kids, and make sure you’ve tried everything in selling your house. However, it isn’t a proven method of bringing a home under contract quickly. If you’re struggling to sell your home, consider other factors in addition to burying St. Joseph.
Where To Buy the Saint Joseph Statue
Westman Works Saint Joseph Home Selling Kit with Instructions Holy Card Medal and Burial Bag Bundle
CTA Home Seller Kit,St Joseph Statue Authentic Home Selling Kit - This Kit Will Sell Your House or Home
The Authentic St. Joseph Home Sale Practice
How To Bury The St. Joseph Statue
Thinking of burying a St. Joseph statue?
If you’d like to bury a St. Joseph statue, make it a fun event. Teach your kids about St. Joseph’s care for his family, St. Teresa’s act of faith, and what’s believed about the statue today.
Let them help you pick a statue online to bury. It’s better to find a small statue (five inches tall, at most) and one you don’t mind displaying in your home. The final step in the tradition of burying St. Joseph is to place him in an honored place in your new home; don’t purchase something you won’t want on a shelf in your living room or on a kitchen windowsill later. If you’d rather browse statues in-person, you can pick one up at a Catholic supply store.
Follow These Steps To Bury the St. Joseph Statue to Help Sell Your House:
- Wrap the statue in a clean cloth. This will protect it from scratches and scuffs when you bury it.
- Place the statue in a resealable plastic bag. This will keep moisture, dirt, and bugs out of the statue. Wrapping St. Joseph in a clean cloth and burying him in a plastic bag also show St. Joseph respect.
- Pick a location for burial. Different individuals recommend different locations and orientations. Some popular ones include:
- Near the “for sale” sign
- Exactly three feet from your back door
- Near the road
- In a flower pot
- Right-side up
- Horizontal, pointing toward the house (like an arrow)
- Facing the house
- Facing the road
- Bury the statue so that it is completely covered with soil. It may help to mark the location of burial, so it’s easy to dig up later.
Some homeowners agonize over the positioning of St. Joseph. There are many options – and few indications of which may be best. If you’re struggling to decide how to orient St. Joseph, remember: this isn’t a scientific procedure. It’s a tradition. Like decorating Christmas trees, picking a pair of lucky sports socks, or cooking a turkey on Thanksgiving, this tradition has many legitimate variations. Whichever orientation you pick, many successful homeowners will tell you they’ve seen success with burying St. Joseph in that direction.
After you’ve buried the St. Joseph statue, it’s time to say a prayer to St. Joseph.
The St. Joseph Prayer
Once you’ve buried St. Joseph, you need to let him know what you need. According to tradition, this prayer should be said immediately – don’t wait a few hours or a few days to pray. There are many pre-written prayers if you’re not sure what to say. If you’d like, you can pray in your own words, too.
Remember: St. Joseph should be treated with respect. The prayer should be reverent and humble, asking – not demanding – the sale of the house.
Sometimes, homeowners pray every day until the house sells. This continued petition is believed to catch his attention and persuade him to sell the home faster. Candles of St. Joseph can be purchased and burned during this time, as well. Some Catholics believe that leaving a candle burning will remind the saint of your request, even after you’ve finished praying.
The Prayer to St Joseph:
O, Saint Joseph, you who taught our Lord the carpenter’s trade, and saw to it that he was always properly housed, hear my earnest plea. I want you to help me now as you helped your foster-child Jesus, and as you have helped many others in the matter of housing. I wish to sell this [house/property] quickly, easily, and profitably and I implore you to grant my wish by bringing me a good buyer, one who is eager, compliant, and honest, and by letting nothing impede the rapid conclusion of the sale.
Dear Saint Joseph, I know you would do this for me out of the goodness of your heart and in your own good time, but my need is very great now and so I must make you hurry on my behalf.
Saint Joseph, I am going to place you in a difficult position with your head in darkness and you will suffer as our Lord suffered, until this [house/property] is sold. Then, Saint Joseph, i swear before the cross and God Almighty, that i will redeem you and you will receive my gratitude and a place of honour in my home.
The St. Joseph Novena
Some individuals choose to say a novena with the burial of St. Joseph. A novena is a nine-day series of prayers. In the Catholic tradition, novenas are modeled after the nine days of prayer spent by the apostles between Christ’s ascension and pentecost; today, they’re commonly used to request specific things from the saints.
Specific novenas have been written to St. Joseph for home sales; you can also write your own novenas. Each day can focus on a specific trait of St. Joseph’s. Alternatively, it can simply express a variation on your request.
At the end of each day’s prayer an “Our Father” is said to finish the ritual. This is also known as “The Lord’s Prayer”; in the Bible, it’s the prayer that Christ taught the disciples. Saying an “Our Father” is a means of remembering and respecting truths that God taught as important.
Here Is The St Joseph Novena:
Day 1: Oh God, guide of those who listen and helper of those who hear your voice, speak to me, as you did to St. Joseph, and help me accomplish the things you give me to do .
Day 2: O God, you love your people and bless the ordinary lives we quietly live. As you blessed St. Joseph, bless what I do, however, hidden and simple it may be, and let all I do be done with love.
Day 3: O God, ever faithful, you remember us always and in time reveal your blessings. Help me trust in you, as St. Joseph faithfully trusted, and never let me lose faith in the wonderful gifts you promise me.
Day 4: God of families, bless the family that’s mine. Keep us safe from harm, and never let evil come between us. Let peace remain in our hearts.
Day 5: O God, who loves children, be kind to our children today. Give them eyes of faith for seeing far, a loving heart for welcoming life, and a place always at your side.
Day 6: God of our heavenly home, bless our home on earth. Let the spirit of Mary and Joseph rest at our table, shape our words and actions, and bring blessing to our children.
Day 7: God, our Father, give your fatherly spirit to those who are fathers now. Like Joseph, give them hearts of devoted love for their wives and children and strength for forgiveness and patience.
Day 8: Give shelter, O God, to those who need it, and bring together families divided. Give us enough to eat, and decent work to earn our bread. Care for us, O God.
Day 9: Bless all families, O Lord especially those in need. Remembering the life of your Son, we pray for the poor, for those who lack a good home, for those in exile. Grant them a protector like Joseph, O God.
What To Do With The Statue When You Sell Your House
Congratulations – you’ve sold your house! Did St. Joseph help? Maybe you sold it in record time, or for more than you expected, or your buyers are offering cash. What’s next for your St. Joseph statue?
Whatever you do, don’t leave St. Joseph buried. Tradition states that a buried St. Joseph will continue to sell the house again and again and again. While that may seem great – won’t the next buyers love a quick sale when they decide to move? – it’s actually closer to a curse. Individuals who leave a buried St. Joseph may cause bad things to happen to the next owners, things that make them want to move sooner: insect infestations, plumbing failures, or other problems.
Here’s how and when to dig up your statue:
What to do when you accept an offer: Leave the statue
Before the contract is final, you’re not required to dig up the statue. This is because things can still fall through. You can, however, pray a specific prayer for everything to move quickly and smoothly to ensure a final sale.
What to do when you close: Dig up the statue
As soon as the sale of the house is guaranteed, it’s time to dig up St. Joseph. Go to the place you buried him, remove him from the ground, and take him out of his bag and cloth. Some people thank St. Joseph for helping them with the sale of their house at this point. Then, pack him carefully with your belongings and take him with you when you move.
What to do when you move: Take the statue along
Finally, most people who believe St. Joseph assists in the sale of their house place him in an honored place at their next house. This is a gesture of thanks. It can also be done as a request for protection from St. Joseph for the years a family spends in their new home.
A favorite place for the statue is in the kitchen or on the mantle. Some set it on their desk, on a bookshelf, or on a large windowsill with other bric a brac. Whether or not you believe St. Joseph assisted in the sale of your home, his presence can remind you to be grateful for your new home.
From the mid-1500s to today, the tradition of burying St. Joseph has come a long way. St. Teresa probably never expected she’d start a long-lasting ritual when she buried the St. Joseph medals in hopes of obtaining new land for her convent. Nevertheless, today, hundreds of homeowners pray to St. Joseph for the sale of their house.
For some, it’s serious. For others, it’s simply fun. Cultural superstitions such as these are difficult to verify – but they’re reassuring and entertaining. If your home has been on the market for months with little success, burying a statue of St. Joseph could give you an injection of hope that motivates other changes in favor of selling the house, too. Your newfound optimism could fuel more attractive staging, landscaping touch-ups, or a willingness to accept more showings than before. While St. Joseph himself may not close the house, the ritual may help you through the stressful season of selling your home.
If you’re interested in starting this tradition, don’t forget to involve the whole family. Including everyone means you’ll be able to look back on the memories of buying the statue, burying the statue, and celebrating the sale of the house together. Regardless of St. Joseph’s role in the sale of your house, those memories will be priceless.