Do you, as a community of men, understand why so many boys remain immature and unfinished and what you can do about it? SJF hosts programs that layout the principles of a rite of passage and allow you, as a fathers, to ensure that your sons reach maturity and grow in virtue. The classes in homesteading and traditional crafts also provide a means of connection within the home.
Are you a part of or in the leadership of a men’s group or apostolate? Bring your team or the men you work with to SJF to recharge and gain greater clarity and vision for reviving and working with men.
Do you want to live differently as a family? Family retreats focus on rebuilding Christian culture within the home. We will learn how to pray as a family, awaken the imagination, work together, and cultivate community.
The immaturity in our culture is effecting priestly formation as well. A man needs security and experience in his natural masculinity in order to discern and be formed in the supernatural masculinity of the priesthood and religious life.
What you will encounter at a St. Joseph’s Farm program is contained in the tagline:
“Work. Pray. Rest.”
Along with being a description of what happens at the farm, the tagline draws upon the Benedictine spirit of ora et labora (work and prayer). Men, if they are to be the virtuous leaders society needs, must learn to cultivate an inner life of prayer that sanctifies and integrates their daily work, and find ways of work that integrate with the needs of the soul and one’s vocation as a father.
Traditional skills and crafts were tangibly linked to the home, but they also reconnect us to disconnected relationships with nature, community, and family. For example, our society has lost its rites of passage for young men, which traditionally came through work and craft in the West (apprenticing, guilds, etc.), and has failed to replace them, leaving adolescent boys unfinished and confused. SJF offers programs for brotherhoods of men and their sons to learn and experience the necessary parts of maturity to ensure that they, and their sons, grow into mature men both naturally and spiritually.
The addition of “rest” reminds us that we do not rest so as to work, but work so that we may rest. In work or prayer, a soul should be at rest in God, but today our frantic and frenzied pace makes rest literally impossible. The deep rest we need, which Josef Pieper described as leisure, is not passivity, but the contemplative openness to truth and reality – it is a foretaste of the eternal rest in God. If we cannot recognize truth, we cannot live by it. Leisure is not just scheduled “pauses” in work, but a habit of mind and heart that leads to wisdom, virtue, and love.
Do you need a new understanding and integration of work, a greater depth and discipline in prayer, and a soul more at rest in a restless world? Or, do you just feel the need to get your hands dirty and learn the craft of homesteading? Consider visiting St. Joseph’s Farm, and make sure to sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on upcoming retreats and programs.
Who Should Visit St. Joseph's Farm?
Why a Farm?
The original commands from God were to work the soil of the garden and be fruitful in family life. There is an intimate connection between fruitfulness of the land, fruitfulness in the family, and literally tasting the goodness of hard work:
“Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table” (Ps. 128).
The homesteading yeoman, even if sometimes romanticized, is a symbol of connectivity, and the traditional farmer is connected in ways modern man is disconnected. He’s connected to nature, which is connected to his work, which is more obviously connected to his family – and the daily connection to reality helps him connect to God. As Pope Pius XII said to a gathering of farmers: “God gave man the earth for his cultivation as the most beautiful and honorable occupation in the natural order.”
Crafts and skills associated with local economies, the family, and rural living are being rediscovered for their inherent value and the good the bring society, something Pope Benedict remarked on:
"It is essential to cultivate and spread a clear ethic that is up to the task of addressing current challenges: Everyone should educate themselves in more wise and responsible consumption; promote personal responsibility, along with the social dimension of rural activities, which are based on perennial values, such as hospitality, solidarity, and the sharing of the toil of labor. More than a few young people have already chosen this path; also many professionals are returning to dedicate themselves to the agricultural enterprise, feeling that they are responding not only to a personal and family need, but also to a 'sign of the times,' to a concrete sensibility for the 'common good.'”
This is why the land and the skills associated with its cultivation are the context that all SFJ programming revolves around. Through a craft and agrarian lens, we can better understand the ways of life that have been lost, in order to make sure we live in ways that bring health to the soul and the family – building true culture instead of imitating the worlds of individualism, consumerism, and relativism.
It is also quite literally from the ground up that culture is born – things like food, drink, and festivities stem from the seasons and fruits of the land surrounding a people. We cannot engineer a new culture into being, because culture is begotten not made. It comes from a fruitful communion with a place and a people. Cultural sanity will not come from systematized solutions, but “from the fruit of the earth and the work of human hands.”
Spaces are usually limited to 15-20 participants. Sign up to receive updates about SFJ in general, notices of upcoming programs, or to inquiry about bringing a group.
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