I’ve heard of “The Flying Nun” but has anyone heard of flying priests? ABC’s “The Flying Nun” ran from 1967 to 1970 with Sally Field starring as Sister Bertrille, the young, 90-pound nun who was often levitated by strong breezes that lifted her up by her highly starched cornette. Wow, that girl must have had neck muscles like aircraft cable. Few television comedies have had a more ridiculous premise.
But Sister Bertrille wasn’t the only Catholic flying around the atmosphere. The Catholic church claims several of its “saints” were prone to levitate while in contemplative, rapturous swoons. Below is an incomplete list of frequent flyers from Catholic sources:
St. Francis of Assisi, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, St. Angela of Brescia, St. Antoinette of Florence, St. Bishop Arey, St. Peter Celestine, St. Colette, St. Margaret of Hungary, St. Stephen of Hungary, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Joseph Oriol, Bl. Bentivolio Buoni, St. Francis of Paola, St. John of St. Facondo, St. Martin de Porres, St. Gerard Majella, St. Paul of the Cross, and St. Gemma Galgani.
Perhaps the “saint” most famous for levitating was Joseph of Cupertino. It’s claimed that Pope Urban VIII witnessed Joseph’s levitations when he visited the Vatican. Did these people actually float or are these just more Catholic folk tales? Jesus and Peter walked on water and Jesus ascended into Heaven but there’s no other mention of any other kind of “levitation” in the New Testament. Levitation has long been a staple of pagan religions and is cited as a frequent phenomenon in cases of demonic possession.
Above: “Saint” Joe of Cupertino, onward and upward.