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Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Birth
Lecce, Provincia di Lecce, Puglia, Italy
Death 18 Sep 1663 (aged 60)
Osimo, Provincia di Ancona, Marche, Italy
Burial Osimo, Provincia di Ancona, Marche, Italy
Plot Cripta del Santuario.
Memorial ID 26810062 · View Source
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Roman Catholic Saint. A remarkably unclever man, Giuseppe Desa was subjected to miraculous levitation and intense ecstatic visions. Recognized as the patron saint of air travelers, aviators, people with a mental handicap and weak students, he was the son of a carpenter. Born in the village of Cupertino, his father died before Joseph was born, leaving his wife Francesca Panara destitute and pregnant with the future saint. Growing up into a highly slow witted child, at the age of seventeen he tried to enter the Order of the Friars Minor Conventuals but his lack of education prevented him from admittance. Eventually admitted into a friary near Cupertino, he had a learning disability and legend has it that he would study intently for one small section of the material, because that was all he was able to do, and successively prayed that the topic he studied would be what he was tested on. Barely able read or write, he grew on the other hand in holiness and wisdom, leading a life of poverty and prayer. Performing menial tasks in the friary including gardening, looking after the animals, cleaning their stalls and helping in the kitchen, on October 4, 1630 while assisting at a procession on the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, Joseph suddenly rose into the sky where he remained hovering over the crowd. Upon descending and realizing what had happened, he became so embarrassed that he fled to his mother's house and hid. This was the first of many flights which soon earned him the nickname "The Flying Saint". With his life changing dramatically after this incident, his flights continued with increasing frequency. Alarmed at his lack of control, his superiors forbade him from community exercises believing he would cause distraction to his fellow friars. His most famous flight allegedly occurred during an audience before Pope Urban VIII, when bending down to kiss the Pope's feet, he was suddenly filled with reverence towards the Pontiff and was lifted up into the air. Only when the Minister General of the Conventuals ordered him down was Joseph able to return to the floor. Eventually summoned before the Inquisition, he was put into confinement for several weeks but later released after the judges found no fault in him. Spending a few years in Assisi, where he was sought after by many, religious and seculars alike, when he started attracting a huge following, Pope Innocent X decided to place him in a secret location under the jurisdiction of the Capuchins in Pietrarubbia from where he was soon moved to Fossombrone, but crowds kept thronging both locations to meet and talk with him. The ordeal reached its end with the Pontiff's death after the Conventuals asked the newly elected Alexander VIII to release Joseph from his exile and return him to Assisi. Alexander declined and instead released him to the friary of Osimo where the Pope's nephew was the local bishop. There he was ordered to live in seclusion and not speak to anyone except the bishop, the vicar general of the Order, his fellow friars and in case of a health crisis, a doctor. Passing away there on September 18, 1663, he was buried two days before great crowds of people. Canonized on July 16, 1767 by Pope Clement XIII, the town of Cupertino in California is named after him while a movie featuring his life, entitled "The Reluctant Saint", starring Maximilian Schell was released in 1962.

Bio by: Eman Bonnici


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 14 May 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 26810062
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Saint Joseph of Cupertino (17 Jun 1603–18 Sep 1663), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26810062, citing Chiesa di San Francesco di Osimo, Osimo, Provincia di Ancona, Marche, Italy ; Maintained by Find A Grave .