Through the grace of God, St Joseph of Cupertino worked various marvels with the animals. A Linnet, to which he often said, “Praise God,” would praise the Lord or cease to do so at his command. Once, on setting free a gold-finch that had been caught in a fowlers net he said to it:
“Go now and enjoy what God has given thee; I ask nothing more of you than that you return when I call you to praise with me your God and mine.”
Obedient to these words, the bird flew about in the garden nearby and, when Joseph called it, it immediately would come straightway came to praise the Creator. A hawk once killed a finch, which the saint had trained to say, “Jesus and Mary” and also “Friar Joseph, pray your Breviary.” The hawk returned at the saint’s command and when he reproached it saying,
“You, thief! You have killed my finch and you deserve that I should kill you!”
Amazingly, the hawk remained perched on the cage as if sorry for its misdeed, and the witnesses state that it even allowed Joseph to strike it with his finger, and only flew away when he said,
“Now go. This time I will pardon thee, but do not do such a thing to a pet again.”
To the nuns of St. Clare at Copertino, the saint presented a white lamb to watch over the discipline of the community. The lamb always was with the Nuns during their spiritual exercises and was ever alert in the Chapel to wake the sleepy by butting and jostling or to remove with hoofs and teeth any vain finery which it observed.
When the lamb had died, the saint promised to send the nuns a bird which should prompt them to love God, and thus it came to pass. One day as the nuns were reciting the Divine Office, a forest songster perched on the window of the choir and sang most sweetly. And thus day by day the merry warble of the feathered songster accompanied and encouraged the chanting of the nuns, until one day it saw two novices quarrelling and flew between them in an endeavor to part them with its outspread wings and tiny claws. One of the novices struck the bird, and it flew away and did not return, though it had been with the community for five years.
The nuns were grieved because of this and complained to Joseph, but he said:
“It serves you right; why did you provoke it and chase it away? It is therefore unwilling to come again.”
But, at their repeated request, he promised to send the bird again. At the first summons to choir, the bird not only came to the window and sang, but, grown more tame than before, and flew into the monastery. The nuns tied a small bell to its foot. When it failed to appear on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, they again had recourse to Joseph, who replied to them:
“I sent you the bird that it should sing, not that it should ring a bell. It has stayed away because during these days it has guarded the holy sepulchre. I will see that it comes back again.”
And the bird returned once again and remained with the pious nuns until its death.