The Saints Who Levitated: Extraordinary and Concrete Miracles

The Saints Who Levitated: Extraordinary and Concrete MiraclesThe Saints Who Levitated: Extraordinary and Concrete Miracles

Carl Sagan formerly said, “Extraordinary claims compel astonishing evidence.” Levitation is an extraordinary claim, is ensuring. It is too a claim that is very concrete: it is something anyone can observe readily if it follows. But unlike incorruption, its effects are not lasting, so we have to rely on eyewitness accounts.

As with all claims of the marvelous, the Church has been on guard against exaggeration or manufacturing. Having direct testimony from those individuals who levitated, or from all the persons who witnessed the person levitating, is imperative — and even then, the Church keenly examines the reliability and incitements of observers. An instance of this kind of investigation can be found in claims about St. Francis of Assisi.

Did St. Francis of Assisi Levitate?

St. Bonaventure was born in 1221, 5 year before Francis died. He entered the Order of Friars Minor( the Franciscans) and became the order’s seventh leader. While primarily known as a philosopher, Bonaventure also wrote about his order’s founder, including the claim that St. Francis was often obtained hovering in the air during spiritual raptures. Reports from later columnists repetition and extended on these argues, saying that St. Francis would soar to the treetops and sometimes into the sky, where he could scarcely be seen.

The difficulty is that in 1245( nineteen years after he had died ), a detailed investigation into Francis’s life had been made by the Church. Approval interviewed many people who knew him, and none of them mentioned levitation. So, either St. Bonaventure had access to textiles that has not been able to endured, or the stories of levitation were an invention that Bonaventure heard and recurred as fact. We are often led to believe that beings before the modern period, particularly in the Church, were easily duped or unimportant to happenings, but the Church has, throughout her autobiography, exploited the best methods available to her to get at the truth of miracles.

Rarely were the development of these claims due to deception: preferably, righteous scribes passed on narrations that emerged from those devoted to the saints. Given this pattern, should we dismiss all claims of levitation in the lives of the saints? No, it seems not.

This article is from The Catholic Guide to Miracles: Separating the Authentic from the Counterfeit.

St. Teresa of Avila

There is good reason to believe that St. Teresa of Avila levitated on a number of opportunities. Her levitations were evidenced frequently by numerous beings. We too have the saint’s own accountings: she described the experience in her autobiography. Although she preferred not to discuss such matters, she wrote the book under obedience to her superior. Now she describes how she refused these raptures that sometimes led to levitation 😛 TAGEND

These aftermaths are very striking. One of them is the manifestation of the Lord’s mighty power: as we are unable to resist His Majesty’s will, either in person or in torso, and are not our own surmounts, we “ve realized that”, however irksome this truth may be, there is One stronger than ourselves, and that these favors are lavished by Him, and that we, of ourselves, can do absolutely nothing. This imprints in us great modesty. Indeed, I be recognized that in me it developed immense fright — at first a awful fright. One envisions one’s body being elevated up from the sand; and although the force selects it after itself, and if no resist is offered does so unusually gently, one does not lose consciousness — at least, I myself have had sufficient to enable me have discovered that I was being promoted up. The dignity of Him Who can do this is manifested in such a way that the whisker stands on end, and there is produced a great fear of annoying so great a God, but a horror subdued by the deepest love, newly enkindled, for One Who, as we find, has so deep a ardour for so loathsome a louse that He seems not to be satisfied by literally attracting the person to Himself, but will likewise have their own bodies, mortal though it is, and befouled as is its clay by all the offenses it has committed.

The Life of Teresa of Jesus: The Autobiography of Teresa of Avila, trans. and ed. E. Allison Peers, from the critical edition of P. Silverio de Santa Teresa, C.D .,

Bishop Diego de Yepes knew her well and wrote one of her numerous early accounts. One era, after receiving Communion from him through the grille at the convent, she started to rise. The bishop recorded her pleas as she clutched at the bars to stop her ascent 😛 TAGEND

Lord, for a thing of so little consequence as is my being bereft of this favour of Thine, do not permit a person so repulsive as I am to be taken for a holy woman.

Fray Diego de Yepes, Vida de Santa Teresa de Jesus( Toledo, 1530 ).

There are similar anecdotes been said by nuns who insured St. Teresa spontaneously levitate. After the events, she would succession them to never be talking about it, but last-minute, under obedience to higher authorities during the Church’s investigation into her life, they described security incidents. For her role, St. Teresa was greatly perplexed by her levitations and cried that they would stop, and by all accountings they decreased hugely in her later life.

St. Joseph of Cupertino

Perhaps the most famous levitating saint is Joseph of Cupertino( 1603-1663 ). Joseph had a very difficult childhood. Today he probably would have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disease of some kind. He was apparently not intelligent and was given the nickname “the open mouth” because he so often looked into cavity with his speak agape. Meanwhile, perhaps due to his limitations and others’ response to them, he developed a bad temper. To manufacture difficulties worse, his father died when Joseph was quite young, and his mother may have been abusive toward him.

Joseph wanted to join the Franciscans, but due to his lack of education, they would not make him. He was then accepted by the Capuchins on a inquiry basis, but they cast him apart after eight months. His mother did not want him back home, so she invited her brother, a Franciscan monk, to make him as a servant at his monastery. Her brother agreed and appointed Joseph to care for livestock. Over time, Joseph’s temper melted, and he started doing better with his labour — well enough for the Franciscans to allow him to study to become a priest. He was legislated in 1628.

After his ordination, Joseph undertook many atonements, including meticulous fasting, typically snacking solid food only twice per week. Then he started going into spiritual euphoriums where reference is said Mass or looked at devotional effigies. During these ecstasies, he often levitated a few inches to a few feet off the soil. His levitations were so frequent that parties started coming to see him for leisure; during the investigation of his cause for sainthood, authorities established at least seventy instances where reference is levitated in the presence of witnesses.

One illustrious instance happened during a visit to Italy from the Spanish ambassador. The envoy had inspected Joseph in his monastic cell and was so impressed that he wanted to return with his wife. Joseph entered the church where the couple hoped to meet him and, upon ensure a bronze of Mary, hoisted ten paw into the air, flew over the crowd to the statue, prayed, pilot back to the door, and returned home. The Church last-minute make depositions from a number of people who were there that day, and their floors are compatible.

There were many other instances that were investigated in a similar way, including one in front of Pope Urban VIII. It was customary to kiss the pope’s feet at the time, as a signed of homage to the Holy Father. When Joseph did so, he rose into the air and was able to come back down only when his superior succession him to do so. Pope Urban VIII said that if Joseph died during the pope’s life-time, he would testify to the levitation that happened in his presence.

After a time, Joseph’s levitations became a problem for the convent. Some hope the chapters were demonic, and he was stigmatized for witchcraft and investigated by the Inquisition. They cast him to a convent in Assisi for observance. He was required not to say public Quantities and to cease public figures absolutely. But his levitations continued in the convent, and he was soon demoted to his cell and not even allowed to eat with the other friars. Joseph exploited this isolation to draw closer to God in devotion. Eventually the inquest determined that he was not practicing witchcraft and let him return to regular monastic live. Joseph of Cupertino died in 1663 at the age of sixty and was canonized in 1767 by Pope Clement XIII.

St. Mary of Jesus Crucified( Mariam Baouardy)

A more recent example of levitation is St. Mary of Jesus Crucified( 1846-1878 ), who was canonized on May 17, 2015, by Pope Francis. Her life story was covered in the period on healings.

On June 22, 1873, the saint was missing at supper, and her chap nuns went looking for her. They acquired her matched on top of a large lime tree, singing. The mistress of rookies ordered her to come down without hurting herself, and she complied immediately, igniting impressive disciplines with her paws as she hovered gently to the ground. The nuns documented seven more motives when she levitated. As usual in these cases, some supposed her of deception, so they sleuthed on and watched her, but no natural rationalization could be discovered.

Later a nun certified of the lime-tree incident, “She had taken viewed of the tip-off of a little branch that a fledgling would have bent; and from there, in an instant, “shes had” been eliminated on high.” A clergyman wrote to the regional bishop about the levitations 😛 TAGEND

Sister Mary used to raise herself to the top of the trees by the tips-off of the divisions: she would make her scapular in one pas, and with the other the end of a small branch next to the leaves, and after a few moments she would slither along the outside edge of the tree to its top. Once up there, she will be retained accommodating on to chapters naturally too weak to bear a person of her weight.

Amedee Brunot, Mariam, the Little Arab: Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified( 1846-1878)( Eugene, OR: Carmel of Maria Regina, 1984 ).


There’s a wonderful innocence, even childlikeness, in the stories of Sr. Mary’s levitations. She would casually swaying from branch to sprig, all while singing of God’s love. By the end of her life, watches reliably attested to eight such occurrences, all in the courtyard of her convent. We can see how a simple, loyal kindnes of God can sometimes cause us to overcome our shortcomings. Often this happens interiorly through the conversion of our souls by mercy, but sometimes, in extraordinary circumstances, it can happen outwardly through our bodies.

What purpose might God have in causing some joyous to levitate during prayer or praise of God? These levitations may prefigure the rising of the living at the second coming of Christ, are outlined in 1 Thessalonians 😛 TAGEND

For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the spokesperson of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord.( 1 Thess. 4:16 -17)

One could also discover levitation as symbolic of rising above the debased world-wide, rising above guilt when recruiting a profound meditation of God that pullings the tone heavenward. Levitation is a very concrete miracle that responds to as a clue of consolidation with God, and calls the watches to seek the same.

Editor’s note: This article is adapted from the opening chapter in Mr. Blai’s upcoming book, The Catholic Guide to Miracles: Separating the Authentic from the Counterfeit. It is scheduled to be exhausted on May 25 th and can be preordered at your favorite bookseller or online through Sophia Institute Press.

image: St. Philip Neri in levitation, fresco by unknown( 1600 ca .) from Chiesa Nuova,( Rome)/ Polvo2 020/ Shutterstock.com

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