Born in 1884, he was one of 5 boys.
Joseph was a devout young man,
and felt a calling to join the Order of the Friars Minors.
This order of Franciscans has a mission to serve in the Holy Land.
" ... to serve the local church
and to look after, restore and protect the holy places of Christianity" Paul VI
A number of shrines were acquired over the course of the years:
In 1867, Servant of God Pauline Nicolay gave the Custody the shrine at Emmaus;
in 1875, the 7th Station on the Via Dolorosa was acquired;
in 1878, the shrine of Naim; in 1879, talks concluded over the shrine at Cana;
in 1880, the shrine of Bethpage was acquired;
between 1889-1950, the Franciscans acquired the right to take possession of the 5th Station,
the "Dominus Flevit", Tabgha, Capernaum, the Shepherds' Field near Bethlehem,
the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in the Desert, Mount Nebo,
the place of Jesus' baptism on the banks of the Jordan,
a small place in the immediate vicinity of the Holy Cenacle and Bethany.
This was not an easy calling for Joseph and his brother friars.
Troubles were frequent.
In 1901, bloody attacks arose partially due to tensions concerning the status quo.
On one occasion, Greek monks stoned friars
over whose right it was to sweep the square next to the stairs
that led to the so-called chapel of the Franks.
In 1920, Turks killed three priests and two friars over tensions
related to the persecution of the Armenians.
Joseph believed the Holy Land belonged to the Christians.
How can a faith system based on compassion and mutual charity
be so judgemental and exclusive?