September 18

St. Joseph of Cupertino

St. Joseph of Cupertino

The Innocent Joseph

Joseph was born on June 17, 1603 at Cupertino, in the diocese of Nardo,Kingdom of Naples. Joseph’s father died before he was born. He spent hischildhood and adolescence in simplicity and innocence. At a young age,Joseph had experiences of the divine, even in smallest things like apainting of Christ, a simple prayer or the sound of church bells.

It is said that Joseph’s mother considered him annoying and treated himharshly. Joseph appeared to be a slow-learner and absent-minded. He wassaid to frequently wander aimlessly, while his mouth was open. He alsohad a bad temper. He tried to learn shoemaking but failed.

Joseph wanted to join the Franciscans. However, they initially would notaccept him. Finally, he was admitted by the Capuchins. Over a very shortperiod of time, however, he was sent away. Accounts say that thishappened because Joseph could not seem to do anything correctly.

His mother was not at all pleased to have her eighteen-year-old son backhome again. He dropped piles of dishes and kept forgetting to do what hewas told. So, his mother finally got him accepted as a servant at theFranciscan monastery. He was given the habit and put to manual labortaking care of the stables and horses.

Joseph Flew…Wait, What?!

About that time, Joseph began to change. He grew in gentleness andhumility. He was more careful in his work. He spent more time in prayerand did voluntary mortification. At last, he was able to enter theFranciscan order and, surprisingly, studied for the priesthood. Despitehis goodness and holiness as a friar, he had a very difficult time withhis studies. However, during his examinations, the examiner happened toask Joseph to explain the only thing he knew well. Joseph was able toanswer, and so he was ordained a deacon and later a priest! His profoundlife of devotion led Joseph to the kind of holiness that is strengthenedby humility, voluntary mortification and obedience. He was deeplydevoted to the Blessed Mother and admonished all people to do the same.

After his ordination, many amazing miracles were brought out throughJoseph. People say they saw him rise from the ground while offering Massor while he was praying! The mere mention of God or a spiritual matterwas enough to take him out of his senses. At Mass, he is said to havefrequently levitated in rapture. Once as Christmas carols were beingsung, he soared to the high altar and knelt in the air, in ecstaticprayer. He was also seen in deep ecstasy several times. The peopleflocked to him in droves seeking help and advice in the confessional,and he assisted many in living a truly devout Christian life.

Because of his growing popularity to the public, Joseph was kept hidden.In spite of this, Joseph was still very happy for the opportunity to bealone with God. He died on September 18, 1663. Pope Clement XIIIcanonized him in 1767. His feast day is September 18.

Five Interesting Facts About St. Joseph of Cupertino

  1. St. Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint of air travelers, pilots
    and learning disabled.
  2. When his husband died, St. Joseph’s mother, who was pregnant that
    time, was unable to pay the debts. So, the creditors evicted her from
    her home. Having nowhere to stay, she gave birth to Joseph in a stable
    at Cupertino, Italy.
  3. Because of his gaping mouth whenever he experienced ecstasy, St.
    Joseph of Cupertino earned the nickname “Bocca Aperta” which means “Open
  4. One of St. Joseph of Cupertino’s most famous levitations was in
    front of Pope Urban VIII. When he bent down to kiss the Pope’s ring, he
    flew into the air, almost thirty feet high, in front of everyone. He
    could not get down until his Superior asked him to.
  5. One day, some men were laboring to put a huge stone cross in its
    socket. Suddenly, St. Joseph rose above them, took up the cross, and
    placed it in the socket for them.

Prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino

O God, You ordained that Your only-begotten Sonshould be lifted up above the earthand draw all things to Himself;mercifully grant that,through the merits and example of Your seraphic confessor Joseph,we may be lifted up above all earthly desiresand be found worthy to come to Him, who being God,lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,for ever and ever. Amen.