Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Franciscan Priest (1603-1663)

Born in Apulia in the year 1603, Joseph joined the Order of Friars Minor Conventual while still a youth. From the beginning he was marked out for the priesthood by devoting himself wholeheartedly to spiritual ministry in his burning zeal for souls. Rich in supernatural gifts, and constantly ordered hither and thither by the dispositions of his superiors, he was conspicuous for his obedience, humility, and patience. He was ardently devoted to the mysteries of Christ’s life, especially the Holy Eucharist, and to Our Lady. He died at Osino in the region of Ancona in the year 1663. He was canonised by Pope Clement XIII in 1767.

From the sayings and maxims of Saint Joseph of Cupertino

No one can attain perfection without the love of God

Three things become a religious person in a special way: to love God with one’s whole heart, to praise him with heart and voice, and to edify one’s neighbour by the example of good works. No one who seeks to live a spiritual or religious life can ever hope to attain perfection without the love of God. Whoever possesses charity is rich even though he does not know it; but he who does not have charity leads a life of misery and does not realise it. The grace of God is like the sun which shines on the trees and plants and gives light and colour to their leaves without in any way changing their nature. So the grace of God enlightens man, adorns him with virtues and makes him glow with the fire of divine love. It endows him with beauty in God’s eyes, but it does not alter his nature, even though it perfects it. What God especially asks of man is his will, because there is nothing else that he can so truly call his own, even though in creating him God gave it to him as a free gift. When a man practices virtue, the ability to practise it comes from God as do all his other gifts. Man has nothing but his will; that is why it is most pleasing to God, and, indeed why it is absolutely imperative, that a man renounce his own will and surrender himself completely into the hands of God.

He should be like a fruit tree which, after all the care that has been given to planting, cultivating and watering it, finally bears abundant fruit. Once he has begun to walk in the ways of God, he must constantly grow and make progress so that he may bring forth precious fruits of holiness and an example of virtue which will attract others to walk with greater determination in the ways of God. The ability to bear patiently for the love of God the adversities and tribulations which come our way should be esteemed as a most singular grace given by God to those who love him. For since our Lord Jesus Christ endured so many bitter sufferings for our sake, God wishes that we should have our share of the Passion. If you are gold, you will be cleansed of your dross in this crucible; if you are baser metal, you will be purged of your rust.

True servants of God should follow the example of the birds of the air. See how the alight on the ground for just as long as it takes to snatch a little fodd, and then are off again, mounting into the sky with a song. In the same way, servants of God should not get bogged down on earth; they should remain only as long as necessity requires, and then forthwith let their minds and hearts soar aloft, praising and glorifying God. Again, see how birds dislike coming down on muddy soil, and, to avoid getting dirty, do so only with the greatest caution. In the same way men should not become involved in things which defile the soul, but lift their hearts above, and glorify the most high God with good and holy works.


O God,
by a wonderful dispensation of your wisdom,
you decreed that all things should find their centre
in your only-begotten Son lifted up from the earth.
Mercifully grant by the merits and example of blessed Joseph,
that we may be unimpeded by worldly desires,
and have the strength to be perfectly conformed
to that same Son, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.