St. Joseph of Cupertino
Joseph was born on June 17, 1603, in a small Italian village to poor parents. He was very unhappy as a boy and a teenager. His mother considered him a nuisance and treated him harshly.
Joseph soon became very slow and absent-minded. He would wander around as if he were going nowhere. But he had a temper, too, and so he was not very popular. He tried to learn the trade of shoe-making, but failed. He asked to become a Franciscan, but they would not accept him. Next, he joined the Capuchin order, but eight months later he was advised to leave. He could not seem to do anything right. He dropped piles of dishes and kept forgetting to do what he was told. His mother was not at all pleased to have the eighteen-year-old Joseph back home again. She finally got him accepted as a helper at the Franciscan monastery. He was given the Franciscan habit to wear and was assigned to care for the horses.
About this time, Joseph began to change. He grew more humble and gentle. He became more careful and successful at his work. He also began to do more penance. It was decided that he could become a member of the order and could start studying to become a priest. Although he was very good, he still had a hard time with studies. But Joseph trusted in God's help and he was ordained a priest. God began to work miracles through Father Joseph. Over seventy times people saw him rise from the ground while saying Mass or praying. He would be suspended near the ceiling like a star at the top of a Christmas tree. Often he went into ecstasy and would be completely wrapped up in talking with God. He became very holy. Everything he saw made him think of God.
Father Joseph became so famous for his miracles that he was kept hidden. This made him happy for the chance to be alone with his beloved Lord. Jesus never left him alone and one day came to bring him to heaven. Joseph died in 1663 at the age of sixty. He was proclaimed a saint in 1767 by Pope Clement XIII.
The life of this saint can help us to understand that holiness and closeness to God aren't dependent on our natural talents or abilities or the judgments of others, but are, instead, a free gift from God.