Saint Joseph of Cupertino

18th September

It seems that the life of St Joseph of Cupertino has a message for parents, grandparents and guardians, who have the best interest of the children in their care.

In our enthusiasm to have the best for our kids, we might be caught up in pushing them to career paths that, in our opinion, will enhance their status in life.

While it is important to encourage our children to aim high, it is equally important to identify positive traits in our children and build on them, without comparing them to the achievements of others, so that they will develop a worthiness of self.

Each and every child, as an adult, will have a unique role to fulfil God’s plan. It is not important what role one holds in life but how one fulfils that role.

From a human point of view, St Joseph of Cupertino was a failure, considered as a fool, even as mentally disabled. And yet he was chosen to be an instrument for the manifestation of the greatness of God.

Christian precepts shout out loud that “God raises up the lowly.”

The life of St Joseph of Cupertino shines, because it is characterised by the virtues of humility, obedience and steadfastness with a sense of inner joy reflected in his personality. These qualities and a concept of their real meaning is difficult to grasp for adults and even more challenging to convey to children.

These values cannot be conveyed in an instant, in a session of dialogue, in a catechism lesson. They can be achieved in a process developed through childhood and adolescence as we continue to build our youngsters into mature adults. The most effective lessons are learned when they perceive us, the adults in their lives, as role models.

What is humility? How does one practise humility?

Growing in the virtue of humility does not mean ceasing to be assertive or being submissive at the price of one’s human rights. It involves acknowledging one’s own qualities that God endows us with, to carry out His plan in our life. It means not comparing oneself to others, stepping over others to gain wealth, power, status, renown.

Help children develop self-worth by “catching them doing good” and acknowledge it, by simply consolidating a good quality of behaviour. Training children in obedience does not include only enforcing our orders on children with a punishment hanging on their heads. Discuss with the children what they consider to be their responsibilities. (Do they have any?) Children need to realise that there are duties and responsibilities they have to carry out, according to their age:
– Lead them to identify these responsibilities themselves. List them!
– Build them up with encouraging words to sustain their strength in being steadfast.
– Be slow to criticise and quick to acknowledge effort.

In our hectic lives, it is becoming more and more remote, the possibility to create quiet ‘spots.’ Search for special moments when the family can sit in wonder and in silence: to admire a sunset, a beautiful landscape, at the end of a day at the beach or even in one’s backyard or garden!

During family prayer time, lead the children to verbalise their positive feelings of that day’s ‘experience of wonder’:
– Give praise to God for His Creation
– Sing a hymn of praise. (How great thou art, for example)
– Hold hands and pray the Our Father

St Joseph came from a poor family and he was unintelligent. Even though he tried his best, he was not able to pass from his exams and this made it extremely difficult for him to become a priest. He prayed a lot and somehow, his wish became true, as he was accepted to enter in a congregation as a friar, and later he became a priest. He encouraged people to pray a lot, like he used to do. St Joseph of Cupertino is the Patron Saint of students sitting for exams.

We might feel scared and we might feel that we are not good enough. Let’s have courage and like St Joseph, we pray and ask the Holy Spirit to be with us and guide us this scholastic year. However, we need to help ourselves and so let us prepare by making a list of goals we would like to achieve during this scholastic year and some motivational quotes. Write them on a sticky note and put them in a jar. When you feel like giving up, pick up some sticky notes and read them aloud and say a little prayer.   

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.