Saint Joseph of Cupertino Patron Saint of Flight

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Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Saint Joseph of Cupertino was born with more than humble beginnings in a stable in 1603. Joseph’s father had been a poor carpenter who was generous beyond his means and after his death his wife was driven from their home by creditors whilst pregnant with Joseph.

Joseph’s displays of holiness began at age eight when, at school, he had his first of many ecstatic visions during which he stared and gaped. This earned him the nickname “The Gaper”. At age 17 Joseph, an apprentice shoemaker, applied to be admitted to a Friary but was refused on account of his lack of education. He was accepted as a lay brother at the Capuchins but he was dismissed as his visions left him unfit for work. He was eventually accepted at a convent near Cupertino as they saw how devout he was in his faith.

The Patron Saint of Flight

It was during his time at the convent that Joseph began to experience the most shocking of his holy ecstasies. When in a heightened holy state, for example at Mass or during feast day parades, Joseph would suddenly begin to levitate and neither shouting or pinching or slapping would rouse him from his trance or cause him to land. This earned him a second nickname of “the Flying Friar” and many years after his death made him an obvious choice to be the Patron Saint of air travel. Often nothing would get him down or snap him out of his trance other than the voice of the highest ranking Catholic there. This would cause shock and distress to anyone present and so eventually led to Joseph being kept away from any public gatherings or occasions of great holiness. At the time of his death he had been kept separate from most other people both inside and outside of the convent for 35 years. Joseph died on 18th September 1663 in Ossimo of a severe fever. This is the date which is now his feast day. Joseph was cannonized in 1653.

In addition to air travellers, air crew and pilots Saint Joseph is also the Patron Saint of astronauts paratroopers, students and test takers.

So if you are scared of either your loved ones or yourself flying why not pray for the protection of St Joseph of Cupertino. After all he flew safely even without an oxygen mask, life jacket and in flight movie!


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The copyright of the article Patron Saint of Flight is owned by Dulcinea Norton-Smith. Permission to republish Patron Saint of Flight in print or online must be granted by the author in writing. First published on


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