Joseph of Cupertino
17 June 1603
Copertino, Terra di Otranto, Kingdom of Naples
|Died||18 September 1663 (aged 60)|
Osimo, Marche, Papal States
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Beatified||24 February 1753, Rome, Papal States, by Pope Benedict XIV|
|Canonized||16 July 1767, Rome, Papal States, by Pope Clement XIII|
|Major shrine||Basilica of St. Joseph of Cupertino, Piazza Gallo, 10,|
Osimo, Ancona, Italy
|Patronage||The City of Copertino and the City of Osimo, aviation, astronauts, mental handicaps, examinations, students|
Saint Joseph of Cupertino, O.F.M. Conv. (Italian: Giuseppe da Copertino; 17 June 1603 – 18 September 1663) was an Italian Conventual Franciscan friar who is honored as a Christian mystic and saint. He was said to have been remarkably unclever, but prone to miraculous levitation and intense ecstatic visions that left him gaping.:iii Joseph began to experience ecstatic visions as a child, which were to continue throughout his life, and made him the object of scorn. He applied to the Conventual Franciscan friars, but was rejected due to his lack of education. He then pleaded with them 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 born the son of Felice Desa and Frencesca Panara in the village of Cupertino, in the Region of Apulia, then in the Kingdom of Naples, now in the Italian Province of Lecce. His father having died before his birth, however, the family home was seized to settle the large debts he had left, and his mother was forced to give birth to him in a stable.
Joseph began to experience ecstatic visions as a child, which were to continue throughout his life, and made him the object of scorn. His life was not helped by his frequent outbursts of anger. He was soon apprenticed by his uncle to a shoemaker. 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.
After Joseph returned to the scorn of his family, he 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 28 March 1628. He was then sent to the Madonna delle Grazie, Gravina in Puglia, where he spent the next 15 years.
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 was deemed disruptive by his religious superiors and Church authorities, however, and eventually was confined to a small cell, forbidden from joining in any public gathering of the community.
As the phenomenon of flying or levitation was widely believed to be connected with witchcraft, Joseph was denounced to the Inquisition. At their command, he was transferred from one Franciscan friary in the region to another for observation, first to Assisi (1639–1653), then briefly to Pietrarubbia and finally Fossombrone, where he lived with and under the supervision of the Capuchin friars (1653–1657). He practiced a severe asceticism throughout his life, usually eating solid food only twice a week, and adding bitter powders to his meals. He passed 35 years of his life following this regimen.
Finally, on 9 July 1657, Joseph was allowed to return to a Conventual community, being sent to the one in Osimo, where he soon died.
Joseph of Cupertino is regarded by Catholics as the patron saint of astronauts. 
- List of Catholic saints
- Saints and levitation
- Padre Pio – another saint with similar disruptive visions
- Religious ecstasy
- The Reluctant Saint – a 1962 movie, based on story of Joseph of Cupertino, directed by Edward Dmytryk
- Pastrovicchi, Angelo (1980). Saint Joseph Copertino. TAN Books and Publishers. ISBN 0-89555-135-7.
- Mershman, Francis. "St. Joseph of Cupertino." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 14 Feb. 2014
- Angelo Pastrovicchi. (1918). St. Joseph of Copertino. B. Herder Book Company.
- Gordon Stein. (1993). Encyclopedia of Hoaxes. Gale Group. ISBN 0-8103-8414-0
- Michael Grosso. (2015). Evidence for St. Joseph of Copertino’s Levitations. Supplemental web material for “Empirical Challenges to Theory Construction,” Edward F. Kelly, Chapter 1, Beyond Physicalism, Edward F. Kelly, Adam Crabtree, and Paul Marshall (Eds.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. ISBN 1442232382
- Butler’s Lives of the Saints (Vol. III) Butler, Alban (Edited by Herbert Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater) (Christian Classics, Inc. – Westminster, Maryland - ©1756-9, 1926-38, 1956 and 1981)
- Dictionary of Saints – Delaney, John J. (Image Books – Doubleday – New York, New York ©1980 and 1983
- Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours – Cassese, OFM, Father John – Marie (Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, New York ©1977)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saint Joseph of Cupertino.|
- Essay from "Saints for Sinners"
- Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Joseph of Cupertino
- St Joseph of Cupertino
- St Joseph of Cupertino Parish, Cupertino, California
- St Joseph of Cupertino, Copertino, Italy
- St. Joseph of Cupertino
- Lloyd, Nathaniel (15 June 2020). "The Feat of the Flying Friar: St. Joseph of Cupertino" (Podcast and blog). Historical Blindness. Retrieved 21 June 2020.