One by one, six women arrived Sept. 28 in front of the house for sale at 402 Walnut St. They weren’t realtors, and they weren’t buyers. They were there to perform a ritual to help the home’s owner, Patty DiFelice, sell the property.
“She had a booth at TC’s What-Not Shop, and we’re all TC girls,” Judy Dannenfelser said. “We’re her buddies. She’s gone, but we can still help her.”
DiFelice decided to sell the house following the unexpected death of her husband, Jack, in May.
“She was kind of misplaced in Kansas — they moved from New Jersey, where their two daughters were, and here was Patty, in limbo,” Dannenfelser said.
When Jack was in grade school, his family moved from New Jersey to Hutchinson in 1956, and he stayed there until graduating from high school. Fond memories of his years spent in Kansas led him to relocate to Marion in 2006 after retiring.
After Jack’s death, Patty wanted to be near their two daughters and her grandchildren in New Jersey. She moved back to New Jersey a few weeks ago.
The women hoped to speed the sale of the house by burying a statue of St. Joseph in the front yard, a ritual that has grown in popularity among sellers and realtors alike the past decade. A Google search found a half-dozen St. Joseph home selling kits for sale, and kits packaged by the dozen for sale to realtors.
“I did it,” Dannenfelser said. “When I put my condo up for sale in Kansas City, before I retired, I planted a St. Joseph. I sold my house two weeks after that.”
Caroline Maag said burying a St. Joseph statue helped to sell her mother’s house.
“After my mom died in California, my sister was there and she was trying to sell the house,” Maag said. “A lady across the street brought my sister a St. Joseph and told her how to do it. My sister and brother-in-law did it themselves, and the house sold that same week.”
The women took turns using a shovel to dig a shallow hole in the front yard, and Dannenfelser knelt to place the terra cotta St. Joseph statue she obtained at TC’s.
“One of the gals at the store had a two-piece Nativity scene. Jesus had gotten lost, and so she felt like she could break it up,” Dannenfelser said.
The statue had to be placed a certain way, Dannenfelser said.
“You’re supposed to plant him upside down, facing the house,” she said. “Then you’re supposed to unearth him when the house sells and put him in a place of prominence in your home.”
With the statue placed and Dannenfelser still kneeling, she led the women in a prayer given to her by a friend, who found it on the Internet.
“Hear Patty’s earnest plea. Patty wishes to sell this house quickly, easily, and profitably, and she implores you to grant her wish by bringing her a good buyer who is eager, compliant, and honest,” Dannenfelser recited.
As the women walked back to their cars, Jane King said she hoped the ritual would lead St. Joseph to intervene soon with a buyer.
“When the right buyer comes along they’ll know it, it will be a feeling that overcomes them, it’s home,” King said.