6 Saints With Superpowers Straight from the Marvel Universe

#3. The Beast Master Saint Columbanus


Reading the stories of St. Columbanus' life, you could be forgiven for thinking that he was about one musical number away from being a real-life Disney princess. He would roam the forests with birds flying around his head and landing on his shoulders while squirrels would run up and down his robes and nest in his cowl. Assuming that this guy was some sort of hippie wuss would probably be the last mistake you'd ever make, however, because Columbanus' control over animals didn't stop with the adorable ones. To put it plainly, the guy was essentially a beast master.

This isn't Photoshop. This is actually his medal. Shaking hands with a bear.

As the Catholic church tells it, when walking through the forest one day, Columbanus was confronted with a dozen hungry wolves (who had probably been attracted by all the tasty birds and squirrels that followed him around). He walked right through them, unmolested. Apparently feeling that this just wasn't impressive enough, he soon upgraded to a more terrifying class of animal minion: bears.

Evidently, the only thing that Columbanus loved more than helping others and spreading the word of God was the total humiliation and subjugation of bears. You'd swear that they'd picked on him in high school or something. His first ursine bitchslap was when he decided to retire into a mountain cave for prayer and meditation. The only problem was that this particular cave was the home to one very large sleeping she-bear. Flying in the face of Darwinism, self-preservation and general common sense, Columbanus woke up the confused 1,000-pound tower of teeth and claws and ordered it to leave the cave and never return.

"Ugh -- and from now on, shit in the woods!"

The bear, recognizing the fact that anyone brave enough to wake it up in the first place was obviously someone not to be screwed with, ran away, tail between its legs. As if kicking a bear out of its house wasn't suicidally badass enough for one lifetime, some time later Columbanus came upon a bear feasting on the carcass of a deer in the middle of the woods. The saint decided that he could probably use some new shoes, and so casually ordered the bear not to harm the skin of the deer so that he could use it to make a new pair.

But Columbanus hadn't even begun to prove to bears everywhere who the boss was yet. When the monastery where Columbanus lived was having trouble planting its crops one year, he solved this problem the only way he knew how: by making a bear look stupid. He summoned one of the apex predators from a nearby forest and hooked it up to a plow like a common mule. The records don't say for sure whether or not he later saddled the bear and rode it around all day to intimidate his enemies, so we're forced to assume that he did.

"Can I go now?"
"No, not until you ride around on that tiny bicycle we got you."

#2. St. Christina the Astonishing was an Astonishing X-Men


According to the medieval historians Thomas of Cantimpre and Jacques de Vitry, a nice girl named Christina was in her early 20s when she suffered a seizure and apparently died. Now, since it was the 13th century and medicine was not all that advanced, it was a tad surprising when she woke up during her funeral and vehemently disagreed with being buried ...

"Can you at least try out the coffin before you say no?"

Did we say disagreed? We mean she frickin' flew up all the way to the rafters of the chapel, complaining about the sinful stench of the unwashed masses below. Indeed, "astonishing" is probably a title well earned at that stage. But wait, it gets even better.

The story goes that the young woman declared that she had seen purgatory and decided that her suffering in their stead would help guide souls out of the cleansing fire straight into heaven. So suffer she did, and no, she didn't half-ass it with some minor self-flagellation. Witnesses testified that she had been seen crawling into live ovens, handling fire, standing in freezing water for hours, getting mauled by dogs and, finally, being dragged around and around by a mill wheel. And all that without sustaining so much as a single scratch.

However, they found her Steve Martin impression lacking.

When she wasn't out flinging herself into danger, she would sleep in tombs and caves, climb trees and buildings or simply levitate to avoid contact with the people she identified as sinners by their smell alone. Hmm ... a woman who died but then came back more powerful than ever, with the ability to fly, who was pretty much invulnerable? And exhibiting subtle signs of mental imbalance? Yep, she was pretty much the Catholic Jean Grey.

"Hail Jean, full of Grey, Cyclops is with thee ..."

#1. St. Joseph of Cupertino Could Fly


Most saints used their miraculous powers to help their fellow man: healing the sick, feeding the hungry or something equally altruistic. As far as we know, there was only one saint who used his miraculous powers just to look really, really badass. St. Joseph of Cupertino was an Italian friar who could, according to legend, fly. And none of this David Blaine "hovering an inch and a half off the ground" crap, either. He's reported to have been capable of soaring into the sky and flying over crowds of people like Superman in a robe.

Also, he was apparently the Crucifix Hamburglar.

The first reported instance of Joseph giving gravity the finger was during a procession on the feast day for St. Francis of Assisi. Joseph was just helping out, walking around like the rest of us land-based humans, when he suddenly became overwhelmed by the spirit and soared into the air, hanging out over the crowd until one of his superiors ordered him to come down. Joseph was apparently so embarrassed by the incident that he ran to his mother's house instead of, we don't know, continuing to do barrel rolls all day while screaming "I can freaking fly, bitches!" like we'd do in the same situation.

"Dude, I'm open! Open! No, up here!"

This wasn't a one-off, either. Joseph's flights became so frequent that the friars reportedly had to forbid him from doing it because he was causing a distraction. Evidently friars had better things to do with their time back then than watch somebody break the laws of physics.

"Joseph, don't make us tether you!"

This ban may have been for Joseph's own safety, however, since he's reported to have been a bit of a moron. Known for being incredibly simple, he couldn't read or write and his lack of intelligence was supposedly so pronounced that it actually led to him becoming, among other things, the patron saint of the mentally handicapped. In other words, if the stories are to be believed, then one day God apparently thought to himself, "I wonder what would happen if I gave the idiot superpowers?"

You can read more from Richy Craven at A Series of Terrible Decisions or follow him on Twitter. Alternatively you could read more of Dustin Koski's articles over at Toptenz.

For more reasons the bible is like comic books, check out 5 Real Deleted Bible Scenes In Which Jesus Kicks Some Ass and The 9 Most Badass Bible Verses.

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