Test-taking and Ecstasy during Prayer

My memories of high school, during which I was educated by Dominican sisters (the same who teach at Pope John Paul the Great and Thomas Aquinas Regional School), recall my fellow students’ attachment to St. Joseph Cupertino. We would pray before exams that he would intercede so that the only questions asked would be the ones to which we knew the answers. Plus, we heard he could fly! As a teenage girl, he was a pretty intriguing saint.

St. Joseph Cupertino: 1603-1663

Feast: September 18

Patron of Aviators and Studying

  • St. Joseph is the patron saint of studying because he was not gifted with a great intellect, yet he wanted to be a priest. In order to continue his studies to be ordained, he had to pass an exam. On that exam was the one question he thoroughly knew the answer to, and he was able to pass.
  • A prayer to St. Joseph before an exam: O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
  • He is the patron of aviators because his attachment to the Lord was so great that he would often go into ecstasy during Mass, witnessed by many to have levitated in the air while praying. Though in high school we were taken with the idea of a “flying priest,” what is really astonishing is how the mention of the Lord would have such a deep effect in his soul that he literally could not keep his feet on the ground!

As an adult, I see that perhaps instead of only praying that St. Joseph will intercede during exams, I should also ask for the grace to be more like him. His life is a testament to the fact that being smart or achieving much in the way of the world is not what brings us closer to heaven. Rather, his great devotion to the living God meant he always wanted to be near Christ. His heart was so pure that ecstasy was a physical manifestation of how close his soul was to the Lord’s.

This is purity of heart that I desire. St. Joseph Cupertino – pray for us!



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