Posted by: lisetta | March 19, 2010

San Giuseppe’s gift

Earlier this afternoon, I found my thoughts drifting into wanderlust, fantasizing about wandering the streets of Napoli, wondering how people were out and about celebrating San Giuseppe.  While San Giuseppe was primarily known for bringing the rains to prevent a famine in Sicily, because so many associate the day so closely with eating zeppole, a kind of doughnut sometimes filled with pastry cream, some call San Giuseppe the patron saint  of pastry chefs! The Italophile foodie in me regrets not having the foresight to have planned some sort of San Giuseppe celebration here with friends. Who *wouldn’t* want to celebrate with pastry, after all? Pazienza! No celebration for me. I came home to a simple bowl of pappardelle with tomato and basil, and an empty evening, so went out and dug in my garden until dark.

A while later, my neighbor Jeff knocked on my door to tell me that the doorman had found a parakeet in the garden, and wondered if I might want to care for it. It appeared hand-fed, somewhat frazzled and very tired. Poor thing!! I took it in, brought it upstairs and gave it a little cup of seeds, which it ate furiously. Turns out that at least something in my household celebrated a feast day.  😉

My newest family member, post-feeding.

The funny thing is that, for bird lovers, March 19 is a day when the swallows start arriving at the San Capistrano Mission in California.  Read more:

The miracle of the “Swallows” of Capistrano takes place each year at the Mission San Juan Capistano, on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day.

As the little birds wing their way back to the most famous Mission in California, the village of San Juan Capistrano takes on a fiesta air and the visitors from all parts of the world, and all walks of life, gather in great numbers to witness the “miracle” of the return of the swallows.

Each year the “Scout Swallows” precede the main flock by a few days and it seems to be their chief duty to clear the way for the main flock to arrive at the “Old Mission” of Capistrano.

With the arrival of early dawn on St. Joseph’s Day, the little birds begin to arrive and begin rebuilding their mud nests, which are clinging to the ruins of the old stone church of San Juan Capistrano. The arches of the two story, high vaulted Chapel were left bare and exposed, as the roof collapsed during the earthquake of 1812.

This Chapel, said to be the largest and most ornate in any of the missions, now has a more humble destiny–that of housing the birds that St. Francis loved so well.  [Text grabbed from]

When I was 25, and in love with a man named Giuseppe, saint’s days were cause for celebration. At that time, I imagined our future life together in an eclectic nest, perhaps with children. Twenty years later, my life is nothing at all what I would have imagined! I’m way more successful professionally than I thought I’d be, but while my nest is indeed eclectic, its only residents are small and feathered. LOL. My neighbor calls me: “the bird mistress”. Does the arrival of my new feathered friend make this true? or, like how people see the scout swallows at Capistrano, can I take its arrival to mean that my main flock is on its way? 🙂



  1. What a lovely post . . . your little visitor (possible new resident) is precious. What will you hame him? I think he’s a good omen – just my opinion. 😉

  2. Thanks! I’m hoping he’s a good omen too! I think I should name him Giusey (joo-see), in honor of the day he arrived in my world.

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