Our Saint of the Week started off as a boy whose father had died, and whose mother was kicked out of her home by creditors. Joseph was born in a stable. At a young age, he began to see visions. This made Joseph difficult to deal with; no one – not even his mother – wanted to deal with him. He apprenticed with a cobbler, who patiently kept him on.
At age 17, he applied to the Conventual Franciscan Friars, but his severe lack of education prevented his admission. So, he tried applying to the Capuchin Franciscans, and was accepted. However, it wasn’t long before Joseph’s ecstatic visions became an issue, and he was released due to his being unsuitable for work. (He couldn’t even be relied upon to wash dishes or serve bread.)
After wandering the streets, Joseph returned to family members – including his mother, only to be verbally abused and turned out the door.
Finally, he was employed as an oblate of a Franciscan convent near Cupertino, Italy, caring for the mule. Although he had very little education, his virtue and spiritual gifts were so great that he become a priest at age 25. His visions become so strong that he would stay entranced for days, while his Brothers pricked his fingers and held embers to his skin in an attempt to ‘snap him out of it’. These attempts were no use! He would often levitate and hear heavenly music.
Father Joseph’s ecstasies in public caused both admiration and disturbance in the community. For 35 years, he was not allowed to attend the Franciscans’ community prayers or celebrate Mass in the church. He was confined to his room and a private chapel. Despite his situation, Joseph retained his joyous spirit and saw God’s good will in everything.
Saint Joseph of Cupertino, pray for us to strive for closeness with God at all times.