Saint Joseph of Cupertino: The “Flying Friar”

On September 18, the Franciscan family celebrates the memory of St. Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663), a Conventual Franciscan friar popularly known for the paranormal phenomena that marked his life.

Prone to trances

Joseph was born to poor but devout parents, Felix and Francesca Desi, in the town of Copertino, province of Lecce, in Apulia. As a child he was prone to “space out” of conversations and fall into a trance. Even his widowed mother berated him for being a lazy good-for-nothing.

Exemplifies Franciscan virtues

This reputation hindered him in realizing his desire to become a Franciscan. He finally gained acceptance into the Conventual friars; although a notoriously poor student, he exemplified Franciscan virtues of prayer, humility, and dedicated service in the community. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1628 (the ordaining bishop had given the first candidates a thorough examination but was so impressed by them, he waived the

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