St. Joseph of Cupertino
St. Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663) was the son of a poor Italian carpenter. His father died before his birth, leaving his mother destitute. As a result Joseph was underfed and often sick. He was a dull child who constantly found himself the worse off in every situation. He was awkward, absent-minded, ill-tempered, unintelligent, and difficult to be around. Many thought he was good for nothing—including his own mother who treated him harshly and considered him a burden. Added to the scorn he received from everyone, at the age of eight he began receiving ecstatic visions for which he was also ridiculed. At the age of seventeen Joseph found work with the Capuchin Franciscan friars, eventually joining their Order once they recognized his holiness underneath his off-putting demeanor. His ecstasies became more pronounced, and he would often levitate or float as they happened. These ecstasies could be triggered easily through the mention of anything heavenly, or by any mortification. This occurrence became a spectacle and disturbance to others and caused Joseph much suffering; it was a cross for him to bear his whole life. He studied for the seminary and barely made it to ordination because he was such a poor student. As a priest he could not celebrate Mass publicly due to his distracting ecstasies. He was even reported to the Inquisition for fear he was involved in witchcraft. Yet St. Joseph lived a life of deep prayer and severe penance through continual fasting, subjecting himself every year to seven Lents of forty days each. Sometimes called "The Flying Saint," St. Joseph of Cupertino is the patron of air crews, aviators, students, and test takers. His feast day is September 18th.