Roger and I have a beautiful home on the market in Uniontown, Maryland, but the future satisfied owners of this house have not yet appeared. Roger’s mother gave us a St. Joseph statue to bury, upside down, in the back yard. Upside down?
In our latest podcast, Jeremy and I disagreed about the upside down practice. He acknowledged that there is a huge following of the St. Joseph real estate tradition, with actual home sale kits, but upside down?
I did a little research into this issue. First, there’s the 2003 best-selling resource by Stephen J. Binz, St. Joseph, My Real Estate Agent. This is no crackpot publication. While it has a humorous tone, Binz is a theologian and counselor in Louisiana, with over 20 scholarly publications to his name.
And the home sales kit itself is available on respectable websites, like Catholic Supply, Inc. of St. Louis. While I couldn’t determine the religious origin of st.josephstatue.com, the website has testimonials from hundreds of successful home sellers.
To be clear, the prayer aspect of the ritual is the most powerful part of the sales technique. The stjosephsite.com has the complete 9-day novena.
The origin of the St. Joseph home-selling tradition is said to have begin with St. Theresa of Avila in (1515-1582), who prayed to St. Joseph (the patron saint of the family and household needs) for more land for Christian converts and encouraged her Discalced Carmelite nuns to bury St. Joseph medals in the ground as a symbol of their devotion.
According to The Straight Dope, he is buried upside down and facing away from the house if you are burying in the front yard and right side up toward the house in the back yard. Other websites encourage upside down exclusively.
Our house has a beautiful new coat of paint, and if that doesn’t bring a buyer, I’m ready for a little St. Joseph help.