In 1990, Gordon & Nancy Bennett of Walnut Creek, CA had tried to sell their home for a year without success. One day during a phone conversation with her Methodist Mother in Wisconsin, Nancy was hoping for maternal support, but instead she got... "Have you tried everything, do you have a Joe planted", questioned Nancy's Mother. "A what", gasped Nancy. "Well, no wonder your home hasn't sold Nancy, everyone in the Midwest knows you have to bury a St. Joseph Statue if you want your home to sell", explained her Mom.
At first, Nancy laughed off her mom's St. Joseph burial suggestion, however, within a couple of day of still no offers, she thought, "what the heck, what can it hurt". So she trucked on down to the local Catholic book store and reluctantly bought the plastic miracle man, and under the cloak of darkness, without ceremony stuck him in the ground.
A week later Nancy's mom called to inquire how the home selling was going," any luck Nancy". "No Mom, and I buried that St. Christopher just the way you told me to". "Wrong saint Nancy, it has to be Joe", exclaimed the Midwest Wise Woman.
Nancy felt uncomfortable going to the Catholic book store in the first place, now she had to actually talk to a person about exchanging the freshly un-earthed incorrect statue for the real deal. Embarrassed by admitting her participation in the medieval ritual, she said to the clerk, "excuse me, but I bought this statue last week and mistakenly purchased the wrong statue, may I exchange it for St. Joseph". "Oh, you must be selling your house, you are in luck, we only have on left", announced the clerk".
One week later, after finally get the correct statue, the Bennett's received a full price offer!
Over a glass of wine, at their new home, the Bennett's told me of their miracle, and we all joked about it. Within the next couple of days Tom Brokaw mentioned St Joseph on NBC Nightly News and Time magazine also did an article on St Joseph. Then the light came on; what I good idea, I can use St. Joseph as a marketing tool with my local real estate agents.
As a mortgage banker I had always enjoyed separating myself from the competition by using unique marketing tactics. St. Joseph was just one more tool to stand out from the crowd. It was a pretty bold move; half the local real estate industry thought I was nuts, the other half embraced St Joseph; you would have thought I was handing out gold bouillon. Even our board president, who was Jewish said to me, "Cates, you know I'm not going to bury a statue in the ground, but, if I give you the addresses of my listings would you do it for me".
By the time I learned of this tradition, the St. Joseph wives tale had circulated around the US for 30-40 years. I think it first took hold in New England. Over time the story was pasted on from practicing believers to other home-sellers. However, much like the verbal game telephone, details pertaining to the St. Joseph tradition got watered down.
Based on Nancy's saintly confusion and my real estate agents questions regarding St, Joseph, I soon came to the conclusion the majority of people didn't really understand the proper procedures of using St. Joseph. If one were going to engage the powers of St, Joseph, I thought it important you understand the tradition. So my wife Karin Reenstierna, thoroughly researched the tradition of using St. Joseph to sell property at our local library. To validate her research, she also contacted the Catholic Deices in Washing DC to verify her findings.
Within six months, St. Joseph; "The Underground Real Estate Agent" TM kit was created. Finally, home-sellers understood the history behind the tradition, how to bury the statue, and what to do with it once the home sold. We are very proud that our product has the distinction of being the first complete St. Joseph home selling kit in the world, inspiring a multitude of others to produce their own kits over the past 17 years.
As luck would have, the media picked up on our product. For the first six years, newspaper reports and talk radio host were kind enough to tell our story. Press... the best advertising money can't buy.
By 1997 thousands of home-sellers and agents were purchasing St. Joseph; "The Underground Real Estate Agent" TM, thanks to the press. The internet was maturing and that year St. Joseph; "The Underground Real Estate Agent" TM kit went cyber with the launch of http://www.stjosephstatue.com/.