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Born: June 17th, 1603
Died: Sept. 18th, 1663
FEast: Sept. 18th
Patron of:  
flying, astronauts, intellectual disabilities, tests

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St. Joseph
of Cupertino



Joseph was born in a stable. His father had passed away before he was born, and his mother, who already did not have much money, had been forced to give up the family home as well. Joseph was raised in poverty, but loved to spend his time in prayer. He was often lost in daydreams, could not focus, forgot things, was clumsy, could not read very well, could not hold a job, and  also had a very quick temper, so other children made fun of him constantly. His mother also found it very hard to have patience with him, so he was soon apprenticed to a shoemaker. Joseph, however, wanted only to join religious life. He applied and was denied many times, and even was cast out after being accepted to one group because of his lack of focus. His family members did not believe Joseph was good for anything or could have much of a future, so he found a job taking  care of a monastery stable. It was there, though, that others finally realized that despite his struggles, Joseph was also very humble, loving, kind, and obedient. He was at last allowed to be able to try and take the tests to enter priesthood. He did not do well at all, except for the final question which just happened to be on a subject he knew very well. He was admitted, but also was put to work doing the hardest and most laborious of the chores for the monastery for the next 15 years.

Joseph, however, still did not have an easy time - he had begun to levitate while in prayer, and could not stop himself from doing so rather frequently. Soon, every thought or mention of God or something related to his faith would cause him to drift and possibly levitate. People began to show up to watch this happen as a form of entertainment, so, because of the embarrassment, his Order did not allow him to leave a cell for 35 years. They tried minor tortures to get him to stop, but no methods worked. Joseph himself did not wish to be disruptive or for this to happen to him, choosing to wear chains and wondering why God would have done such a thing to him.

He was transferred several times, and was subjected to even more suffering as some of the brothers were jealous of Joseph's gift and persecuted him for it. He was not permitted to do any of the things he loved about his faith, and was even brought before the Inquisition when some people accused him of witchcraft.

Even so, it is said that Joseph remained joyful until he passed away in 1663.



As patron of those with intellectual disabilities, please be with us as we strive to better understand, care for, and serve this community. Help us put away our misconceptions and let us love each other for our differences and our differing experiences that make our world so beautiful.


Art Reflection


This icon is based on a photograph from a commission. The woman's husband was a pilot, and she described him as having a sense of humor even though he had been through much, so I found him to fit St. Joseph of Cupertino very well.


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