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Levitating Saint

Levitating or flying Saint, Joseph of Cupertino was born Giuseppe Maria Desa, the son of Felice Desa and Francesca Panara in the village of Cupertino on June 17th 1603. Joseph was in the practice of going to church from his younger days and would spend hours in front of the altar at home praying the rosary and litany every day.Joseph began to experience ecstatic visions when he was 8 years old. He would be lost in a trance like state every time he heard the piano or the choir practicing and was constantly ridiculed by his friends.

Feeling drawn to religious life, in 1620 he applied to the Conventual Franciscan friars, but was rejected due to his lack of education. He then applied to the Capuchin friars in Martino, near Taranto, by whom he was accepted in 1620 as a lay brother. But he was dismissed as his continued ecstasies made him unfit for the duties required of him. He later came back and pleaded with the Conventual friars near Cupertino to be allowed to serve in their stables. After several years of working there, he had so impressed the friars with the devotion and simplicity of his life that he was admitted to their Order, destined to become a Catholic priest, in 1625. He was ordained a priest on March 28, 1628.

He experienced the living God every time he touched the bread and wine during the Eucharistic celebration and to avoid unnecessary contact with others he chose to live in a small and dark room. After this point, the occasions of ecstasy in Joseph’s life began to multiply. It was claimed that he began to levitate while participating at the Mass or joining the community for the Divine Office, thereby gaining a widespread reputation of holiness among the people of the region and beyond. He would fast for 40 days 7 times a year and apart from eating on Thursdays and Sundays he fasted during the rest of the days.

He showed his love for Mother Mary by constantly reciting the rosary every day. The priest who was with him was singing the Ave Maria song and with that St Joseph breathed his last and departed from this world on September 18th 1663.

He was canonized as a saint by Pope Clement the XIII in the year 1767 on 16th July. He has been declared the patron saint of air travelers, aviators, astronauts, and people with a mental handicap, test takers and poor students.

Joshy Anappara

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