St. John Joseph of the Cross
1654 : : Died:
St. John Joseph of the Cross was born at Ischia, Naples in Italy on the feast of the Assumption. He was a young noble, but he dressed like a poor man to be as poor as Jesus had been.
At the age of sixteen, John Joseph entered the Franciscan order so he could live a self-sacrificing life like Jesus. He cheerfully made many sacrifices, slept for just three hours a night and ate very plain food.
John was so well known for holiness that his superiors put him in charge of establishing a new friary before he even became a priest. Later when he was ordained a priest, Father John Joseph became the superior at Santa Lucia's in Naples where he spent most of his long life. He always insisted on doing the hardest work and gladly chose to do the duties that no one else wanted to do.
St. John Joseph had a very loving nature. But he did not try to be the center of attention. Instead of waiting for people to recognize his gifts and reach out to him, he would reach out to others. All the priests and brothers thought of him as a loving father. He greatly loved the Blessed Virgin Mary, and tried to help others love her too.
This good priest loved God so much that even when he was sick, he kept on working. He had the gifts of prophecy (tell the future) and healing, and would swoon into ecstasies (see visions and be unaware of where he was); he was known to levitate (rise from the ground and float in the air) and bilocate (be in two places at the same time).
St. John Joseph died on March 6, 1734, at the age of eighty.
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