1603-1633; September 18

By Catholic News Service     9/16/2016

Because this Italian Franciscan was seen to levitate and move through the air, usually toward a tabernacle or statue of Mary, he is a patron saint of airline pilots, crews and passengers, as well as astronauts and test-takers. A poor, unschooled peasant from Copertino, Joseph entered a friary in 1620. He was dismissed for failing to complete even simple tasks, but joined another friary through family connections. There he learned to read his missal and breviary, and he approached exams by praying hard. He was ordained in 1628. The “flights,” which he could not control, prompted investigations by two Inquisitions; Joseph was exonerated, but could not celebrate Mass publicly or participate in public functions. He was canonized in 1767.