Josephology: The Science of Saint Joseph

As you read these blog posts, perhaps you asked yourself just who exactly was Father Roland Gauthier. During his tenure as the sanctuary’s rector from 1956 to 1962, Father Gauthier founded the Saint Joseph Research Centre in 1949. At the time, there was no other place like it in the world. Its mission consisted in promoting the worship of Saint Joseph and “locating and archiving all doctrinal and historical documents about Saint Joseph.”1 Each year, the centre organized workshops and conferences on the worship of Saint Joseph for provincial superiors of communities of teaching brothers and sisters.

In 1951, then a young PhD student, Father Gauthier took part in the Salamanca (Spain) conference on the paternity of Saint Joseph.2 This was an opportunity to not only spread awareness of the Oratory, but also discuss with theologists from all over the world. Father Gauthier’s superiors also saw this event as a chance to build relationships with the Valladolid Carmelites, who were very active in their scientific study of the theology and worship of Saint Joseph.

Père Roland Gauthier et la Joséphologie // Josephology

Father Roland Gauthier (1915-2005). 211-107-7.

In 1953, the Centre’s Executive Committee developed the key outlines of its scientific magazine, the Cahiers de Joséphologie, and published its first two issues3, with the support of Éditions FIDES. Father Émile Deguire, CSC, then superior of the Oratory, wrote in the first issue’s presentation that this magazine was a “new opportunity to glorify Saint Joseph and underscore the sanctity of his life, the unique scope of his mission […] with exegetes, patrologists, theologists, liturgists, artists, historians, archivists and librarians uniting toward this purpose.”4 For nearly 40 years, the magazine published theological articles, historic studies, pontifical text analyses and studies on the worship of Saint Joseph specific to certain charismata or communities. The quality of the published research could only be equalled by the authors’ renown and dedicated process. Two issues were published every year, until 1994.

While the Cahiers de Joséphologie are no longer published, the Roland-Gauthier Archive and Document Centre humbly strives to continue its founder’s mission. The impressive documentation about Saint Joseph collected over the years is still available, along with the sanctuary’s other archives. Indeed, researchers have access to several thousand rare volumes, brochures and books written in a dozen languages.

Moreover, readers interested in the theology of this great saint can purchase booklets of articles published in the Cahiers de Joséphologie at the Oratory’s main gift shop.

Centre de recherche et de documentation sur saint Joseph // Josephology

A father consults the library’s card catalog of the Centre for Research and Documentation on Saint Joseph (around 1950). Archives of Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. 153-11.

Le bibliothécaire du Centre, M. Jean-Bernard Léveillé // Josephology

A librarian of the research centre, Mr. Jean-Bernard Léveillé. 153-14.

  1. Procès-verbal du Conseil provincial, 8 août 1949
  2. Denise Robillard, Les merveilles de l’Oratoire, p. 326
  3. Idem, p. 327
  4. Cahier de Joséphologie, vol. 1, no.1, janvier-juin 1953, p. 8