Joseph Cornelius

My Grande-ma had ten children*, one died in her arms, Joseph Cornelius. He was six months old. Although he died in 1920, even I know of him as a sweet baby, a spotless innocent eager to intercede for us.

My mother says that Grande-Ma always spoke of little Joesph’s untimely death with sadness and faith. She told her children to ask little Joseph to intercede for them and later she encouraged her grandchildren to ask for his prayers.

Those who were close to her at the time, said that her strong faith and love for baby Joseph, her surrendering to God’s will at his death, was one of her most enduring and endearing lessons.


*After the birth of her first baby she nearly died. The Dr. told her not to have anymore. She laughed and said what better way to die than to bring new souls into this world?  The rest of her deliveries were uncomplicated.



  1. this is beautiful … however, i do not understand the theological concept of asking a deceased baby to intercede for us in prayer? (i’m not catholic – is this a part of the catholic church?)

    1. Yes, it’s catholic. We ask the saints to pray for us. And since a baptized baby has had original sin washed away and has no way of actually sinning he is considered a holy innocent a saint. We ask the saints for prayers just like we ask the living for prayers knowing we are in communion through Christ. We call it the communion of saints. Here are some biblical referecnes for this tradition:

  2. this is beautiful

    Yes. Perhaps the most tragic loss of modern Christianity is the Communion of Saints. Catholic, yes, but very, very view Catholics understand it, or live it. Myself included. In modern times, death wins.

    Here’s a clip from a historian who converted based on this issue. I really was shocked to hear his POV. 25-30 min.

    1. The protestant point of view: “death wins.” This is interesting. My father’s side of the family is protestant and I know very little about my paternal ancestry. They just don’t talk about the dead like my mother’s side.

  3. They just don’t talk about the dead like my mother’s side.

    Maybe it’s why matriarchal cultures like Irish, Hispanic, and Italian tend to linger on as RC even in generations of disbelief. Here’s the Irish version:

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