St. Joseph of Cupertino, a Franciscan friar in Italy, was born June 17, 1603, and is one of the truly unusual saints of the Church. He was born in a stable and was so poor in school that he passed his exam for the priesthood only because the bishop asked the one question he was prepared for. Nonetheless, he developed great wisdom and knowledge of holy things.
He performed severe penances, such as wearing a heavy chain around his waist and fasting seven times a year for forty days each! But he was most famous for his ecstatic flights or levitations, of which seventy are recorded in the acts of his beatification. He levitated almost daily at Mass–sometimes for two hours. People flocked to him because of his kindness, and so many attended his Masses that the church could not contain them. St. Joseph worked numerous miracles and, like St. Francis of Assisi, even spoke with animals. On one occasion he raised to life a flock of sheep that had been killed by enormous hailstones. Although he could smell the stench of sin in wrongdoers, he himself exuded a lovely bodily perfume. He performed exorcisms by reciting the litany of Loreto. And the devil even said of him: Friar Joseph is the worst foe we have.” He died a happy death at Orsino on September 18
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