The Levitating St. Joseph Of Cupertino!

St Joseph of Cupertino (1603-1663)
Certainly one of the Saints who is best known for levitating during prayer is St. Joseph of Cupertino, who experienced so many levitations that were witnessed by his brothers in the Franciscan Order and others that he is regarded as the patron saint airplane passengers. In Fr. Angelo Pastrovicchi’s official biography of the Saint, which was first published in 1767, the author states that:
“Not only during the sixteen years of the Saint’s stay at Grottella, but during his whole life, these ecstasies and flights were so frequent, as attested in the acts of the Process of beatification, that for more than thirty-five years his superiors would not permit him to take part in the exercises in the choir and the refectory or in processions, lest he disturb the community.”

St Joseph was often enraptured into remarkable levitations, often being carried away by God for some distances. In the records of his official beatification process [Acta Sanctorum], seventy of his levitations and ecstatic flights are recorded.

One Christmas Eve the Saint invited some shepherds to join in celebrating the birth of the Saviour. When they started to play bagpipes and flutes, the Saint let out a cry of joy and flew a considerable distance through the air to the high altar. He remained in his rapture about a quarter of an hour. Although he was in the air leaning over several lighted candles, his garments were not affected. As usual, all present were astounded by the miracle.

During a profession ceremony at Cupertino, the Saint, dressed in a surplice, suddenly rose to the height of the pulpit and remained for some time with outstretched arms and bent knees. -Imagine the amazement of the religious and the congregation! One Holy Thursday, while praying before a representation of the holy sepulchre which was situated above the high altar and lit with many candles and lamps, the Saint rose in the air and flew to the altar. Without touching any of the decorations, he remained for a time until the superior ordered his return.
Another time on hearing a priest say: “Father Joseph, how beautiful God has made Heaven,” the Saint flew up and “rested” on the top branches of an olive tree. He remained there in a kneeling posi¬tion for half an hour while the branch which “supported” him swayed as lightly as if a small bird had perched on it.”

Once while passing through Monopoli on his way to Naples, he was led by his fellow religious to the church of the monastery to see a new statue of St. Anthony of Padua. After spotting it from a distance, he suddenly flew to the statue and then returned to his former place. After the Inquisition heard of these marvels, they felt the need to investigate and commanded that the Saint say Mass in their presence at the Church of St. Gregory of Armenia, which belonged to the nuns of St. Ligorio. Suddenly the Saint rose with a loud cry from a corner and while praying, flew to the altar. He remained standing in the air, bending over the flowers and lighted candles with his arms spread in the form of a cross. The nuns cried in alarm that he would catch fire, but he returned to the floor unharmed.

Certainly the most prominent witnesses to the Saint’s levitations was Pope Urban VIII. During the Saint’s first stay in Rome he went with the Father General to visit the Pope. While bending over the feet of the Pontiff the Saint became enraptured and rose in the air until the Father General commanded that he return. The Pope marveled at the phenomenon and told the Father General that he himself would bear witness to the occurrence should the Saint die during his pontificate.

To satisfy the curiosity of the Spanish Ambassador to the Papal Court and his wife who went to Assisi on purpose to see St. Joseph, the Saint was told by Fr. Custos to go into the church and visit Our Lady’s statue. Upon entering the church he looked toward the statue of the Immaculate Conception on an altar, and flew over the heads of those present, and remained in the air at the feet of the statue. After a few moments he flew back and then retired to his cell.”

Occasionally the Saint’s raptures lasted six or seven hours. A peculiar aspect was that, when a rapture overtook him at Holy Mass, he always resumed where he had left off. Another unusual aspect is that his garments were never disturbed during his many flights whether he travelled forward or backward, up or down. St Joseph of Cupertino was so on fire with the love of God that one could almost always draw him into an ecstatic levitation by simply speaking of the adorable love of God or the Blessed Virgin Mary, or causing him to contemplate a picture of Jesus or Mary.


About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).