September 18 - Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Quick Facts
  • Joseph's father, Felice Desa was a poor carpenter who died before the boy was born.
  • Creditors drove his mother, Francesca Panara, from her home, and Joseph was born in a stable.
  • Starting at age eight, he received ecstatic visions that left him gaping and staring into space.
  • He had a hot temper, which his strict mother worked to overcome.
  • Apprenticed to a shoemaker.
  • At age 17 Joseph applied for admittance to the Friars Minor Conventuals, but was refused due to his lack of education.
  • He applied to the Capuchins, was accepted as a lay-brother in 1620, but his ecstasies made him unsuitable for work, and he was dismissed.
  • Abused by his family, he continued his prayers, and was accepted as an oblate at the Franciscan convent near Cupertino.
  • His virtues were such that he became a cleric at 22, a priest at 25.
  • Joseph still had little education, could barely read or write, but received such a gift of spiritual knowledge and discernment that he could solve intricate questions.
  • His life became a series of visions and ecstasies, which could be triggered any time or place by the sound of a church bell, church music, the mention of the name of God or of the Blessed Virgin or of a saint, any event in the life of Christ, the sacred Passion, a holy picture, the thought of the glory in heaven, etc.
  • Yelling, beating, pinching, burning, piercing with needles - none of this would bring him from his trances, but he would return to the world on hearing the voice of his superior in the order.
  • He would often levitate and float (which led to his patronage of people involved in air travel), and could hear heavenly music.
  • Even in the 17th century, there was interest in the unusual, and Joseph's ecstasies in public caused both admiration and disturbance in the community.
  • For 35 years he was not allowed to attend choir, go to the common refectory, walk in procession, or say Mass in church.
  • To prevent making a spectacle, he was ordered to remain in his room with a private chapel.
  • He was brought before the Inquisition, and sent from one Capuchin or Franciscan house to another.
  • But Joseph retained his joyous spirit, submitting to Divine Providence, keeping seven Lents of 40 days each year, never letting his faith be shaken.