The Institute of Saint Joseph was founded for laity and priests who are searching for a deeper spiritual life and are drawn to the charism of Nazareth. The foundation of our contemplative life is the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Each state in life has its unique form of living the evangelical counsels. The contemplative life is centered in the Mass, praying the Liturgy of the Hours (the Church’s Official Prayer: i. e. Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer consisting of Psalms and Scripture readings), the Rosary, meditation upon Scripture and Eucharistic Adoration. Regular spiritual reading a study of Sacred Truth are important parts of growing in prayer and the spiritual life.
Membership is open to any Catholic, man or woman, who is at least 18 years of age, is in good standing with the Church, and does not belong to a religious or secular institute. Married people, diocesan priests, and single men and women who experience a call to celibacy who live within the Diocese of La Crosse are eligible for membership.
The Institute was founded by Father William Felix and John M. Gilbert (now Fr. John Mary) in 1987 with the help of then-Fr. Raymond Burke with the approval of Bishop John Paul, Bishop of La Crosse. What started with seven people slowly began to grow, especially as we moved to Saint Peter Parish in Tilden, where we lived until 2011. In the Fall of 2011, we moved to Edson where we have our own setting.
We contribute to the life of the Church by our pursuit of holiness. Then-Bishop Raymond Burke wrote to us on the tenth anniversary
of our founding:
“Your tenth anniversary is also an occasion of joy for our whole Diocese, because of the particular relationship which your spiritual program has with the good of all the faithful of the Diocese of La Crosse. As members of the Institute of Saint Joseph, you dedicate yourselves in a particular way to pray for and support the Diocesan Bishop and to build up the life of the Church in the Diocese through your spiritual program. Surely, the past ten years has given many signs of the fruitfulness of your consecration as members of the Institute of Saint Joseph in the entire life of the Diocese.
The distinct fraternities which make up our Institute highlight, for all the faithful of the Diocese, the particular demands of their respective vocations in life. Each fraternity is for those who share the same vocation in life an example an example of the more intense following of Jesus Christ in fulfilling the demands of one’s particular vocation.”
These words from His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke are a great encouragement and confirm the work of the Holy Spirit in the particular mission we have been given in order to serve our Lord and the Church.
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