Did you know that our dear sister St. Therese had a devotion to St. Joseph of Cupertino? Not only that, she used his story to encourage her sister Celine not to give up hope of being a saint - promising her, thanks to St. Joseph C's example, that Celine (like Therese) would not be just a "get to heaven after a long purgatory saint," but a fly straight into Jesus' arms when He gives you that real first kiss kind of saint! And our little sister Therese wants, as always, to encourage us too. What better day to do so than the 360th anniversary of that dear and constant friend who has gotten many of us through the gauntlet of test taking to where we stand today, if not brilliant geniuses at least unflunked little ones right where we need to be!
Do you have a great St. Joseph of Cupertino story? I hope so! Feel free to send it to me through the "contact me" button here, and maybe I can post a panoply of fun miracles to boost our confidence in the intercession of these dear siblings of ours. Meanwhile, I'll share two of my favorite stories, the miracle that got me a husband (and not just any husband but a real keeper!) and the miracle I was repeating to my family yesterday in honor of 4 young girls, St. Therese, and (come to think of it) definitely St. Joseph C . . . Then I'll tell you what St. Therese said to Celine, and finally we'll say our Padre Pio prayer because we're in the midst of the famous triple novena of love.
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When I was at Thomas Aquinas College and thinking I'd like to go to grad school in philosophy (hahahaha, well, the humor of that we'll save for another day, but suffice it to say in the words that Dr. McInerny loved to quote from Boswell, "I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in), I took the GRE. I must have prayed to St. Joseph of Cupertino because that is just what one does when one is in love with Jesus and on board with the whole crazy Catholic thing that He started. St. Joseph of Cupertino was one of the many saints I discovered at TAC and he had already gotten me to the point of taking the GRE, so with his help, I took it. In those days (think cassette tapes and VCRs, along with Mary Lou Retton and JPII's preparations to go to WYD in Denver - "the revolucion!" as he loved to call it), the GRE consisted of math, verbal, and logic sections. I'm pretty sure they called it "Logic" because that's what my husband and I have laughed about ever since.
We studied for the GRE together, my then-boyfriend and I. That is, the night before we drove to Santa Barbara with a group of friends to take the test, he and I sat in a classroom (the one with the piano in it near the smoker's lot in the St. Joseph Commons - I can visit it today if I really want to, and look through the window to the place where we goofed off, I mean studied) . . . and we looked over the sections of the test in one of those GRE prep books to see what format they used for the question. I'm afraid we weren't too earnest about our prep, or perhaps I should say I have to gratefully admit we weren't any more serious about tests then than we were later when we unschooled our two sons. We took our cue from Dr. McArthur who used to say, "Don't try to study for a test the night before! Go to the movies! Either you know it or you don't!" Well, we didn't go to the movies, but we put in a minimum of time checking out the hints given in the "Hints to taking the test" section of the test prep book and called it a day.
The next morning we headed out bright and early and went to one of those grueling standardized test taking sessions that absolutely require the help of the saints. Hours in a room with number 2 pencils and no food! After a night of usually insufficient sleep! All you holy angels and saints, pray for us!
And St. Joseph of Cupertino in particular, please pray for us because, as we'll see when we get to Therese's words to Celine, you weren't the brightest bulb in the pack, but by God's grace you passed the requisite exams to became a priest forever! Hooray!
We took the test and then all went out to a restaurant called Charlotte's, if I recall. Whew, we were whooped and had no idea how we did . . .
Until the scores came back to us some weeks later. My boyfriend and I compared our results; Verbal, I think we did about the same (very well). Math, he did better, but I did okay. Logic? Ah, logic . . . My boyfriend eventually became the logician, in perfect accord with his Myers-Briggs type, "The Logician" (though we knew nothing of that at the time). And what about me? How was my logic? I admit for the record that logic has never been my strong point. If there were a Myers-Briggs type called "Silly Girl" that would be me, but suffice it to say I'm an ENFJ (sometimes an INFJ depending on the season, and definitely a writer more than a teacher) who excels in empathy and has never been blamed for being too logical. Sometimes even possibly questioned as not being logical enough. But that's in ordinary life, not in "St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for us" test taking mode.
So getting back to the GRE. . .
My logic score was perfect.
Not just "perfectly imperfect" or good enough or perfect-for-me.
I mean it was perfect.
To our happily every after amusement, I got a perfect score on the logic section!
It helped that the GRE's idea of logic in those halcyon days was not Aristotelian (true) or Symbolic (not true) but just like those logic games in crossword puzzle books when I was a kid. No, I never did any of those games, but I remember seeing them, and they would say something like this - which is exactly like what the GRE logic section said that year:
"If you are planning a party and arranging the seating and Jolene is wearing perfume and Joe is allergic to perfume and Jasmine loves horses and Jaspar has a fear of horses and Enid is wearing a strobe light attached to her striped party dress and Enoch has epilepsy (etc, etc, etc,), where will you seat everyone?"
Well my goodness! Seating for a party? I can do that!
And I did.
And it meant that Notre Dame, which was only accepting 10 out of about 100 applicants that year, accepted both my boyfriend and me into the philosophy department . . . which meant that after two years of dating at TAC but still unsure of whether we were supposed to get married, we both went to South Bend, Indiana, that hotspot of romance and discernment, and got engaged a couple of months into our first year of grad school. Prompting the 7 other guys in our class to tell my fiance, "Wow, that was fast!" since they didn't realize we'd already been dating and thought the Logician had snatched up one of the two girls in the class for his own in the wink of an eye!
Later, in a moment of candour he's never been able to live down, my husband told me that if we hadn't both gone to Notre Dame, he never would have married me. Not that he didn't like me, even love me, but he just didn't think he would have been organized enough to pull off long distance and engagement in the same sentence (think prison sentence) as grad school!
So thank you, St. Joseph of Cupertino, for making sure my marriage happened! My children thank you too!
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A little less than ten years ago, four friends told me that their four daughters (one each) had failed to get into TAC because of their awful math scores on the SAT. All four of these girls wanted to go to Thomas Aquinas College more than anything and were willing to take the SAT again, reapply, take a gap year, and in short do whatever it took to, please God, go a year later than they had planned. The SAT was set for October and I promptly began a novena to St. Therese asking her to get these girls into TAC, with the help of St. Joseph of Cupertino. (Again, my memory of calling on him is hazy, but he is the one I always go to and recommend in these cases of test taking, so I'm sure he was part of the game plan). The last day of the novena I woke up early in a quiet house (my husband and two sons being asleep) and went out to the kitchen. Peering into the dining room I was shocked to see the most gorgeous arrangement of yellow roses and golden leaves EVER just sitting innocently on my dining room table. How it got there I had no idea, and it was impossible to do anything but gape, cry a little, and thank St. Therese for answering my prayers.
All those four girls got into TAC. All of them graduated. One is now married to a fellow TACer and the smitten mother of a new little Primrose. Another is a lovely artist saving up from her day job so she can soon study art in Florence. The third is happily married to another fellow alum. And the fourth is happiest of all, having been drawn up by the same St. Therese who got her into TAC, but now into a far better place, into the arms of Jesus.
(Incidentally, the roses were brought home very late the night before by my son Joseph who had helped clean up after a fancy schmancy gala dinner and been offered this glorious centerpiece as a thank you. Although he's had many adventures around the world, nothing like this has happened to him before or since. So I think it's fair to say the roses were really, miraculously, in accord with the miracles she was about to work in the lives of 4 young women, from St. Therese!)
Thank You Jesus for giving us these spectacularly loving siblings, the saints, who hear our prayers and present them to You and obtain so many beautiful graces for us!
Thank You St. Therese and St. Joseph of Cupertino!
And if you, dear reader, want more encouragement and miracles from St. Joseph C, check out this delightful article at Catholic Exchange:
3 Small Miracles, No. 2 Pencils, And My Number 1 Saint by Emily Chaffins
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So what exactly did St. Therese say about our hero, St. Joseph of Cupertino?
She spoke in response to a complaint from her sister Celine on July 12, 1897. This was the anniversary of their parents' wedding date, and in fact July 12th has now become the feast of Sts. Louis and Zelie, the first married couple ever canonized in a joint cause. But back then in 1897, Therese was dying and her sisters (both her blood sisters in the Carmel and her other Carmelite sisters) needed a lot of consoling, so she pulled out all the stops to tell them every true and comforting thing she could, and here is what she said this day (I'm quoting from Her Last Conversations).
Celine, who was Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face in the Carmel, had said sadly to Therese, her soul mate and best friend: "God will not be able to take me immediately after your death because I won't be good enough."
Yes, Celine, we can relate!
And Therese, never one to let a gloomy remark go unanswered by the truth, replied:
"It makes no difference; you remember St. Joseph Cupertino, his intelligence was mediocre, and he was uninstructed, knowing perfectly only this verse of the Gospel: Beatus venter qui te ("Blessed is the womb that bore Thee"). Questioned precisely on this subject, he answered so well that all were in admiration, and he was received with great honors for the priesthood, along with his three companions, without any further examination. For they judged after hearing his sublime answers that his companions knew as perfectly as he did.
"Thus I will answer for you, and God will give you gratis all He will have already given to me."
This is the generosity of the saints and the genius of St. Therese! Or rather God's wisdom shining through her, thanks to the example of St. Joseph of Cupertino and the light God shone first through him, another little one, another fabulous intercessor, another friend in Heaven.
Speaking of friends in Heaven, I'm praying today that Pat Carlson, who entered eternal life today well prepared by Holy Mother Church with the last sacraments including Viaticum (JESUS!) yesterday, and the Apostolic Pardon to boot, may be a new friend and intercessor there already. Pray for her, gain for her a plenary indulgence just to cover all our bases, and demand the full indulgence that we are promised by Truth who only speaks truly, and then ask away for her help too! (If you don't know how to obtain a plenary indulgence, you can find out in the many articles by Maura McKeegan at Catholic Exchange. Check some of them out by starting HERE.)
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And now, without further ado, our prayer to St. Padre Pio on our way to his glorious feast this Saturday, September 23:
O Blessed Padre Pio,
holy bearer of the wounds of Christ,
accept us this day as your spiritual sons and daughters
and keep us always on the little way by your intercession.
And do thou, O our Spiritual Father,
relieve our suffering and the suffering of those we love,
and then stay there at the Gates of Heaven, as you promised,
until all of your spiritual children have entered through,
even and including us and all those we love.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Remember our motto "For fun and for free" and participate in our triple novena as the Holy Spirit inspires you - with our prayers or your own, not forgetting that simplicity is a joy to the Heart of God. "Help, Padre Pio!" and "Thanks, St. Joseph of Cupertino!" and "We love You, Jesus!" or the ever popular, "Jesus, we trust in You!" are all great options.
Another of our mottos is "No more worrying, anymore, ever!" which we get from Jesus speaking to Marcel. And if you can't seem to stop despite all your attempts, take refuge in that wonderful prayer Mary our Mother taught to our little brother in Conversations: "Little Jesus, I offer You this worry as a sacrifice!" We have nothing to fear and everything not only to gain, but already given to us, so relax, take a load off, and enjoy that cupcake in honor of St. Joseph of Cupertino!
Draw me, we will run!
I've written books and articles and even a novel. Now it's time to try a blog! For more about me personally, go to the home page and you'll get the whole scoop! If you want to send me an email, feel free to click "Contact Me" below. To receive new posts, enter your email and click "Subscribe" below.