Saturday, November 19, 2016

Where the Man Who Could Fly Died

A Visit to Osimo

Famous for his levitations, they had moved the strange friar from town to town, convent to convent. This time they brought him to the edge of the Adriatic to a remote Franciscan outpost. At the entrance to the town of Osimo, he announced this was the place he would die.  (And so he did six years later on September 18, 1663.)  He then glanced toward the tower of the church of Loreto, believed to contain stones of the house the Holy Family lived in. 

According to the chronicles, Joseph at that moment observed a host of angels in flight. It so amazed him that he went into ecstasy and was carried aloft into the air.  This was observed by all who were present, as reported in Domenico Bernini’s 1722 biography.  Mazzanti represented it in a painting, which belongs to the Sanctuary of St. Joseph in Osimo. I had requested permission to use a photograph of Mazzanti’s painting for the cover of my book on Joseph, which was granted with a request for a copy of the book when published. I decided to bring a copy to the Sanctuary in person, wanting to get a sense of this part of Italy near Ancona where the man who could fly spent the last six years of his life.

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