St Joseph of Cupertino

Leap of faith: the miraculous phenomenon of levitating saints

The ‘ordinary academic mind’, William James wrote, struggles to recognise things which ‘present themselves as wild facts with no stall or pigeonhole’. The Yale professor Carlos Eire has a passion for them. His erudite, wilfully eccentric study of baroque Catholicism glories in the supernatural powers of holy persons. He showcases two kinds of miracles they performed: levitation and bilocation, the ability to be in two places at once. Through him, we meet St Joseph of Cupertino, who liked to nest in the tops of trees, and Sister María de Ágreda, a Spanish nun who made 500 trips to missionise the New World without once leaving her convent. Although their feats