Part of the Field Guide to Flying Saints.
born: Cupertino, june 17, 1603
died: Osimo, sept 18, 1663
A Franciscan friar whose ecstatic flights earned him the title 'Flying Friar'.
As a boy he was sickly, absent-minded, nervous and extremely hot tempered and quite useless because his ecstasies made it impossible to do any jobs. He had the habit of stopping in the middle of a sentence, not remembering the conversation and to stand still or kneel at awkward moments.
Joseph was sent to Grotella in 1628 where he performed many miracles. For 10 years the surrounding countryside witnessed the wonders of the friar. He kept drawing such crowds, that his desperate superiors sent him from convent to convent, hidden from the world and basically imprisoned.
His life was in danger when he was denounced to the Inquisition at Naples, but was freed after three 'examinations'. He was sent to Pope Urban the 8th and when Joseph saw the Holy Father he flew into the air until the Pope ordered him down.
Hordes of Pilgrims followed Joseph around, the Spanish ambassador and his group saw him take off over their heads to the high altar, uttering his usual shrill cry, and the Duke of Brunswick became a Catholic after twice seeing Joseph in ecstasy.
The brothers used needles and burning embers to try and get his attention, but they could not get him out off trance. He would be caught by a vision that fixed him like a statue. He might fly around with his plate at dinner or suddenly fly into a tree when working outside, completely caught by amazement of the world.
Pope Innocent the 10th ordered him to retire and he spent the rest of his life in complete seclusion.
Weight (approx): 62kg
Range and distribution: Italy
Special features: none