When my husband and I decided to live more liturgically our first question was where to start!? There are so many rich traditions in the world-wide Mother Church that it was overwhelming at first to suddenly add all this history, planning, and spirituality to our daily life. We decided to pick one aspect and “test it out” for a few months to see how it fit into our busy lives. Since I love the saints and their stories I decided to start there. We made a list of saints we especially love and the list has grown exponentially since then!
One of our favorite saints on this list is Joseph of Cupertino, also known as the Flying Friar. No, he’s not our patron saint, and although we travel and fly a lot we had never prayed for his intercession before. He’s special to us for an entirely different reason: competition.
When visiting art museums my husband and I play this game called “Name that Saint.” Basically, we look at a painting and try to beat each other in picking out saint attributes and naming them without looking at the museum label. I usually win the game (I have an art history degree with a specialization in medieval saints after all). Five years ago while traveling around Italy, my husband told me he was going to beat me in at least one round of “Name that Saint” because he KNEW there was a painting of a saint at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence that I would not be familiar with. He had done research and studied for months. And he was ready.
As we are walking around the Uffizi Galley he cannot find the painting. We asked and it was not currently on display. It was incredibly ironic and funny but I felt bad for him because he had studied so much for this moment. So we improvised, and pulled up the painting on our phones so he could tell me all about the Flying Friar.
Joseph of Cupertino was born in 1603. His mother was impoverished by the death of his father before he was born so she was forced to give birth to him in a stable. He was plagued with ecstatic visions throughout his life that actually caused him to be dismissed from the Capuchin brotherhood and sent home. He eventually served the Conventual friars in their stables and was admitted into their Order in 1625 and ordained a priest in 1628. His visions became more serious coupled by levitation while saying the Mass. He was eventually confined to his cell when news got out about his miraculous levitation. Joseph of Cupertino was actually condemned by the Inquisition for witchcraft and died of natural causes on September 18, 1663.
So when we made our saint list we knew the Flying Friar HAD to be on it. It served as a reminder of that funny event so many years ago in Italy and as a ode to our love of air travel. But when I googled ways to celebrate his feast day I came up empty handed until my husband thought of a great way to incorporate him into our dinner table: chicken wings. So now I say a little prayer to St. Christopher AND St. Joseph of Cupertino before flying and we each chicken wings every year on his feast day.
Although this isn’t necessarily the most “pious” way to commemorate him, it’s a great way to incorporate the saints, their lives, and intercessions into our daily life around the dinner table.
Jessica Furiosi is a cradle Cuban-American Catholic who lives in Central Florida with her Catholic convert husband of Irish & Italian heritage. They are both pubic high school educators (certainly a unique vocation!) and Jessica currently teaches World History & Humanities. She has a degree from the University of Central Florida in Art History and enjoys traveling across the world to discover its arts, culture, religions, and customs. Jessica has a blog, https://jisforjourney.com/, about their extensive travels and her exploration of world culture through art history and teaching.