St. Joseph of Cupertino

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St. Joseph of Cupertino
by Emily Mary Shapcote, 1877

In the year 1600 there dwelt in the kingdom of Naples two poor but pious gentlefolk, by name Felix Desa, a carpenter, and his wife Francesca. At his death he was found to have left certain debts, and upon the entrance of the servants of the law into her poor dwelling, in order to seize her goods in payment, Francesca, in terror, fled into the stable, where she gave birth to a son, who in baptism received the name of Joseph. Under the eye of his pious mother the child grew up to be a holy boy, who at the early age of eight years gave signs of future sanctity. Although he was most industrious at his work he would show an extraordinary love of recollection, and it often happened that at prayer he would lose himself in contemplation. He would be seen kneeling motionless, with fixed eyes and half-open mouth, so that other children were wont to give him the title of “Bocca aperta” (open-mouthed). He was known to wear a rough hair shirt and to chastise his body in various ways. Continue reading

The Stigmata of St. Francis

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The Stigmata of St. Francis

The great Patriarch of Assisi will soon appear a second time in the holy Liturgy, and we shall praise God for the marvels wrought in him by divine grace. The subject of today’s feast, while a personal glory to St. Francis, is of greater importance for its mystical signification.

The Man-God still lives in the Church by the continual reproduction of His mysteries in this His Bride, making her a faithful copy of Himself. In the thirteenth century, while the charity of the many had grown cold, the divine fire burned with redoubled ardour in the hearts of a chosen few. It was the hour of the Church’s passion; the beginning of that series of social defections, with their train of denials, treasons and derisions, which ended in the proscription we now witness. The Cross had been exalted before the eyes of the world: the Bride was now to be nailed thereto with her divine Spouse, after having stood with him in the pretorium exposed to the insults and blows of the multitude. Continue reading