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St. Joseph of Cupertino

SEPTEMBER 18 is the traditional memorial of ST. JOSEPH OF CUPERTINO (+1663).

St. Joseph, born in the kingdom of Naples in 1603, is known as the patron saint of air travelers, pilots and the learning disabled. Read on to see why.

Our saint was born Giuseppe Maria Desa. His parents were not well to do and his father died in great debt before the birth of the child. The house was confiscated and Mrs. Desa was reduced to giving birth to the child in a stable. The child was a difficult boy to raise. He was slow to learn and absent-minded. He would wander, with mouth agape. He was described as remarkably unclever. In addition, the boy had a bad temper, so he was not popular with the other boys. The odd thing was that he had visions at a young age.

He was apprenticed to his uncle at a young teen, to learn shoemaking. He failed. He tried to join the Conventual Franciscans but was rejected based on a lack of education. Finally, he was able to join the Capuchins. But, only eight months later, he was sent away. Because he could not do anything right. His ecstacies got in the way of his chores.

His mother did not want a young man to support, so she got him a position as a servant in a Franciscan monastery. He was given the habit of the Franciscans and took care of the horses.

About this time, Joseph began to change. He grew humble, gentle, careful and successful at his work. He prayed and did voluntary acts of penance. The members of the order invited him to join and study for the priesthood. He had a very difficult time with his studies but eventually was ordained in 1628.

After this, his ecstacies increased. He was seen to levitate during Mass and Divine Office. He had conversations with God, often. This was embarrassing to the monastery. His was hidden from the public for years, first in one place then in various other monasteries. Lastly he was sent to the monastery at Osimo in the Papal States. Here he died on September 18, 1663.

“Pray, pray. If you are troubled by dryness or distractions, just say an Our Father. Then you make both vocal and mental prayer.”--St. Joseph


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