Named after the patron saint of students and aviators, our Province remembers the Feast Day of St. Joseph of Cupertino. Let us take time to reflect on the life of St. Joseph and be inspired by his devotion to the Lord and his church.
St. Joseph of Cupertino (Conventual Franciscan.)
Saint of the Day for September 18
(June 17, 1603 – September 18, 1663)
St. Joseph was born in 1603 at Cupertino, in the diocese of Nardo in the Kingdom of Naples. After spending his childhood and adolescence in simplicity and innocence, he finally joined the Franciscan Friars Minor Conventual. After his ordination to the holy priesthood, he gave himself up entirely to a life of devotion to the Lord and his church. His deep devotional life led him to the kind of holiness which is forged through humility, voluntary mortification, and obedience. He was consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and promoted devotion to her among all classes of people as a wonderful path to a deeper Christian life and love for Jesus Christ.
It is said that his mother often considered him a nuisance and treated him harshly. Joseph was purported to be slow to learn and absent-minded. He was said to frequently wander aimlessly, with his mouth gaping open. And, he had a bad temper, so, he was not at all popular. He tried to learn the trade of shoemaking, but failed. He asked to become a Franciscan, but they initially would not accept him. Finally, he did join the Capuchins. However, for a very short period of time. Eight months later, they sent him away. Sources say it was because he could not seem to do anything right.
He dropped piles of dishes and kept forgetting to do what he was told. His mother was not at all pleased to have the eighteen-year-old Joseph back home again, so she finally got him accepted as a servant at the Franciscan monastery. He was given the friars habit and put to hard work taking care of the horses.
About this time, Joseph began to change. He grew in humility and gentleness, fruits of the Holy Spirit at work in a person. He became more careful and successful at his work. He also began to pray more and do more voluntary acts of penance. Finally, he was able to enter the Franciscan order and, eventually, study for the priesthood. Although he was a good and holy friar, he had a very hard time with his studies. During his seminary exams, the examiner happened to ask him to explain the only thing he knew well, and so he was ordained a deacon, and later a priest.
After this, the Holy Spirit began to work many amazing miracles through St. Joseph. Over seventy times, people say they saw him rise from the ground while offering mass or praying. Often he went into ecstasy and would be caught up in talking with God. He fell so deeply in love with God that everything he saw only drew him into a deeper union. He said that all the troubles of this world were nothing but the “play” battles children have with popguns. St. Joseph became so famous for the miracles that he was finally kept hidden from the public, but he was happy for the chance to be alone with his beloved Lord. On His part, Jesus never left him alone and one day came to bring him to Heaven. Pope Clement XIII canonized him in 1767. He is the patron saint of air travelers, pilots and learning disabled.
The life of this saint was marked by ecstasies and levitations. The mere mention of God or a spiritual matter was enough to take him out of his senses; at Mass he is said to have frequently floated in the air in rapture. Once as Christmas carols were being sung, he soared to the high altar and knelt in the air, in ecstatic prayer. The people flocked to him in droves seeking help and advice in the confessional, and he assisted many in living a truly devout Christian life. However, this humble man had to endure many severe trials and terrible temptations throughout his life. He died on September 18, 1663.
Prayer of St. Joseph Cupertino
O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God
the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew,
obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing.
In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
I will also imitate your life of prayer and devotion
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us.
Thank you to Fr. Carlos Morales for the above reflection.