Valley homeowners anxious to sell their houses in the sluggish market are turning to St. Joseph for help.
St. Joseph is the patron saint of family and household needs, and many people believe that if they bury a St. Joseph statue upside down facing their home that the property will sell faster.
Irene Andrie, a gift shop volunteer at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Scottsdale, said St. Joseph statues have always been a big seller - but recent declining housing trends have boosted sales even higher.
"Sales have picked up a little bit," Andrie said. "We have one Realtor who buys 100 at a time."
Mesa resident Connie Finneman said she has turned to St. Joseph for help selling multiple houses, and he always brings good luck.
"He has really helped us to sell our house right when we needed it to sell," Finneman said.
She said the house she sold in Mesa had been on the market for six months but sold shortly after she buried the statue. The second house she sold in Tucson was on the market for only six weeks.
"I'm thinking maybe he had something to do with it," Finneman said.
Mark Johnson of Scottsdale recently sold his home but said he doesn't believe divine intervention had anything to do with it.
Still, he buried a St. Joseph statue on his property just to be safe.
"Anything to help sell our house in this market," Johnson explained.
Bud Urban of Gilbert is another skeptic.
He said he bought the statue and followed the instructions, but nothing has happened."It has had no effect," Urban said.
East Valley real estate agent Dave Harnisch is another person who doesn't believe a statue will help sell anyone's house.
He said home sellers should focus on proven techniques.
"Show it properly and price it right for the market," Harnisch said."Your house could sell in two to three days."
Jim Dwyer, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, said he's aware of the St. Joseph custom, but it's up to individuals if they use the statue.
"Faith can help move a lot of things," Dwyer said. "If you have faith that something can happen, you are more likely to make it happen."