12 Oct 2016 Articles Comments (3)

Jesus apparition in Mexican sky occurred one day before devastating earthquake

It's a major miracle that you've probably never heard of. On Sunday, Oct. 3, 1847, more than 2,000 people in Ocotlán, Mexico saw a perfect image of Jesus Chr…

Read more

21 Oct 2015 News USA Comments (1)

Denver archbishop: Would German bishops side with Henry VIII or Thomas More?

If divorced-and-remarried Catholics should receive communion, as Cardinal Walter Kasper and many of the German bishops suggest, does that mean St. Thomas More a…

Read more

29 Sep 2015 News USA Vatican No comments

Full transcript of Pope Francis' inflight interview from Philadelphia to Rome

In a 47 minute Q&A with journalists on his way back to Rome Pope Francis touched on sensitive topics such as forgiving abusers and conscientious objection, …

Read more

12 Sep 2014 Vatican No comments

Pope Appoints New Members to Congregation for Causes of Saints

Pope Francis today appointed Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum", and Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, major penitentiary, as members …

Read more

23 Aug 2016 Americas News USA Vatican Comments (6)

Famous atheist believes after miracle at Medjugorje

Randall Sullivan was an atheist, working as a war correspondent in Bosnia. He was also a contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine. During a visit to Medjug…

Read more

08 Sep 2015 News Vatican Comments (1)

Pope Francis makes Major Changes to Catholic annulment process

In a revamped marriage annulment process Pope Francis has made some significant changes, giving more of a role to the local bishop, dropping automatic appeals, …

Read more

26 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (2)

Is the Catholic Church just as divided as the Protestant denominations?

Full Question How are you Catholics any more doctrinally united or harmonious than we Protestants? You have your radical feminists, hyperconservatives, New…

Read more

04 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (3)

Are children of an annulled marriage considered illegitimate?

Full Question Are children of an annulled marriage considered illegitimate? Answer In his book Annulments and the Catholic Church, canon lawyer E…

Read more

13 May 2016 News No comments

Archbishop says Italy’s civil unions bill is a defeat for democracy and family life

Archbishop Forte said the family was at risk of being taken over by a 'new vision for society' The Italian government’s approval of a bill that grants legal re…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Did St. Joseph have a first wife named Melcha?

Full Question

My mother told me years ago that shortly before St. Joseph was betrothed to Mary, he had been married to a woman named Melcha who bore him a lot of children. Is this true, and where does this story come from?


The story about St. Joseph being married to a woman named Melcha with whom he had six children is taken from apocryphal writings, which have no authority. From the Catholic Encyclopedia’s entry on St. Joseph:

It will not be without interest to recall here, unreliable though they are, the lengthy stories concerning St. Joseph’s marriage contained in the apocryphal writings. When forty years of age, Joseph married a woman called Melcha or Escha by some, Salome by others; they lived 49 years together and had six children, two daughters and four sons, the youngest of whom was James (the Less, “the Lord’s brother”). A year after his wife’s death, as the priests announced through Judea that they wished to find in the tribe of Judah a respectable man to espouse Mary, then 12 to 14 years of age. Joseph, who was at the time 90 years old, went up to Jerusalem among the candidates; a miracle manifested the choice God had made of Joseph, and two years later the Annunciation took place. These dreams, as St. Jerome styles them, from which many a Christian artist has drawn his inspiration (see, for instance, Raphael’s Espousals of the Virgin), are void of authority; they nevertheless acquired in the course of ages some popularity; in them some ecclesiastical writers sought the answer to the well-known difficulty arising from the mention in the Gospel of “the Lord’s brothers”; from them also popular credulity has, contrary to all probability, as well as to the tradition witnessed by old works of art, retained the belief that St. Joseph was an old man at the time of marriage with the Mother of God. (

Answered by: Peggy Frye



  1. Annie Reply

    Hehehe… funny story over there. heard it for the first time.

  2. Sharon Reply

    I heard Joseph had children by a previous marriage. I didn’t know he was that old. It also explains his brothers and sisters.

  3. vIncent Licitra Reply

    The US Catholic Council of Bishops have yet another belief very much worth investigating.

  4. Gérard maher Reply

    According to Ann Catherine emmerick “James the brother of the lord” was not the Lord’s brother but he looked a lot like the Lord and people called him the brother of the Lord the distinguish him for other James’es which there was a few

  5. mae WHRITE Reply

    “…taken from apocryphal writings, which have no authority…” It’s sad how much certain Catholics are starting to talk like protestants about non biblical books as if they have no reliability or historical accuracy. Are these other books Scripture? Of course not. Does that mean they are therefore not “reliable” or have no “historical reliability”? Of course not. A books reliability has nothing to do whether it’s in the Bible or not, and to dismiss other historical writing merely because their not in the bible is to dismiss books without giving them a fair hearing.

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories