Shrine of St. Joseph
The church had its beginning in 1843 when the Jesuits founded the parish to serve a pleasant residential community consisting mostly of German immigrants. The Jesuits immediately began plans for building a church. Mrs. Ann Biddle, a wealthy widow, known for her many philanthropic deeds, donated the land for the new church. The cornerstone was blessed by Bishop Kenrick on April 14, 1844. The completed structure was a modest building facing west toward 11th Street. After renovations, the High Altar was installed early in 1867, at a total cost of $6,131.00.
In late 1864, a German immigrant, Ignatius Strecker, was suffering from an injury he incurred while working at a local soap factory. Despite every known treatment, Mr. Strecker grew worse and was finally told by doctors that he had two weeks to live.
Mr. Strecker managed to drag himself to the church when a famous Jesuit missionary visiting St. Joseph’s preached on Blessed Peter Claver. He arrived just as the priest was blessing the congregation with a relic of Peter Claver. Observing Mr. Strecker's extreme weakness, the priest allowed him to kiss the relic. Immediately, the sick man seemed to experience a resurgence of strength. He began to heal and within a few days he returned to his job. In a few months, he was restored to full health.
The Shrine has been the destination of the Joseph Challenge Pilgrimage since the first iteration in May 2016.
**Abridged from from shrineofstjoseph.org