Biography of The Flying Friar Giuseppe Desa Part 2

About the Flying Friar Giuseppe Desa, biography and history of the levitating Saint.


The Flying Friar

Over a period of time, his shrieks of ecstasy got louder and louder. They disturbed holy services so much that he was no longer allowed to join his fellow priests in the choir. Neither was he permitted to join them at mealtime. Finally, Joseph was ordered to Naples to be examined by the Holy Office. After three appearances before the Inquisition, the charges against him were dismissed, and he was allowed to say Mass in his own church. It was while praying in the church one day that he suddenly rose into the air with a loud cry. He floated forward with his hands outstretched, as if on a cross, and landed on the altar, which was covered with flowers and lighted candles. Giving another cry, he flew back to his former position in the church, landed on his knees, and proceeded to call out and sing in rapture.

He was summoned to Rome, where he was allowed to kiss the feet of Pope Urban VIII. Joseph became so ecstatic in the presence of the pope that he was seized with rapture and rose in the air in a subliminal trance, until the Father General talked him down. However, the pope was extremely impressed and promised to vouch personally for Joseph's rare talent.

Sent to Assisi, where his superior was suspicious and offensive, Joseph seriously began to doubt his own worthiness. For two years he was kept from the public eye, until the superior of his own order heard what was happening and recalled him to Rome. After a short stay in Rome, during which his confidence was restored, Joseph returned to Assisi, where he received an enthusiastic welcome from the inhabitants. As he entered the basilica of the monastery, he looked up and saw a painting of the Virgin Mary on the ceiling. With a loud shriek, Joseph rose into the air, flew about 15 yd., and tried to embrace the Virgin, crying, "Oh! My Mother! Thou hast followed me!" During the following years in Assisi, and later in Copertino, he flew numerous times. On one occasion, a shepherd and several friends were playing music in Joseph's church when he began to dance. With his usual loud cry, he suddenly flew 20 yd. in order to be able to kneel on the high altar. Although the altar was covered with burning candles, and Joseph knelt among them for a quarter of an hour, he neither burned himself nor knocked over a single candle.

What makes Joseph's levitations particularly interesting is that they were not confined to the interior of the church. He once flew in the house of a sick man he was visiting. Another time, he was walking in the garden with a fellow priest, when his companion remarked on the beauty of God's heaven. With his customary shriek, Joseph sprang into the air and landed at the top of an olive tree, where he stayed kneeling for half an hour. The branch he was resting on was incredibly thin, but it bore his weight with only the slightest shake. On this occasion he came to his senses while still in the air, and his companion had to fetch a ladder to help him down. It seems that the Flying Monk was afraid of heights.

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