St. Padre Pio
St. Padre Pio
The Words of St.Padre Pio: It would be easier for the earth to exist without the sun than without the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
Francesco Forgione, better known to the world as Padre Pio, was born on the May 25. 1887, at the small village of Pietrelcina, near Benevento in Italy. The family was poor, but his father, seeing how quiet and religious his son was, determined that he would not end up labouring in the fields and travelled to New York to earn sufficient money to send Francesco to a seminary. As a result, Francesco entered the Capuchin Monastery at Morcone in 1902 to begin his year of novitiate. He was fifteen years of age.
Francesco was ordained to the priesthood in August, 1910, but bouts of ill health resulted in his frequently having to go home to rest. While there, apart from a brief spell in the army which concluded with his discharge on the grounds of a tubercular condition, he spent most of his time helping the parish priest and living an ascetic and prayerful life. When his health improved he moved to an isolated monastery known as San Giovanni Rotondo, where he was to spend the rest of his life.
On the 20th September, 1918, Padre Pio collapsed in the chapel and was found to be bleeding profusely from five deep wounds in his hands, feet and side. When he regained consciousness he begged his fellow monks to keep the event secret, but word soon spread and people flocked to the monastery from all over the country to see the stigmata for themselves, and to confess their sins to this living saint. During the next few years Padre Pio was forced to endure a series of medical investigations and attempted cures, none of which changed the character of the wounds. He never talked about himself or complained, but when someone foolishly asked him if his wounds hurt, he replied: Do you think that the Lord gave them to me for a decoration?
Remarkably, the wounds of the stigmata lasted for the remainder of Padre Pio’s life, that is to say, for fifty years. They caused him considerable pain, so much so that he was unable to close his hands into a fist, and when descending from the altar to distribute Holy Communion, he was obliged to walk backwards to relieve the pressure on his feet.
In spite of such afflictions this humble monk lived an extremely busy life. Rising at 3:30 every morning, he said Mass at 5 a.m., had no more than a glass of water for breakfast, and spent long hours hearing confessions. At noon he took the only meal of the day. Although he never left the monastery in a physical sense, he was observed at different places many miles away on numerous occasions. Thus he possessed a gift shared by very few saints, that of bilocation. Sometimes he appeared beside someone he wished to help; at other times he made his presence felt by the perception of a singular fragrance. This was noticed by everyone in the vicinity at the time.
Padre Pio possessed another gift, that of reading minds. When hearing confessions he was quite liable to remind those before him of sins they had forgotten or neglected to disclose. The insincere, who came to him merely out of curiosity, or with the wrong motives, were dismissed without absolution. He was also able to prophesy the outcome of medical conditions, particularly when those concerned had been recommended to his care and protection.
If in view of his many achievements this Italian friar appears as something of a formidable character, it should be mentioned that he had a vigorous sense of humour and was most popular with his religious colleagues and friends. He did not consider himself superior to anyone else, and indeed showed considerable humility. When people sought to thank him for some special favour, he humbly asked them to pray for him.
Padre Pio died on the 23rd September, 1968. His funeral, held three days later, was attended by more than 100,000 people. Pope John Paul II took particular interest in his cause and he was beatified on May 2nd, 1999. Three years later, on June 16th, 2002, Padre Pio was canonized. He became - officially - a saint who was canonized by the pope who in his young life as a priest actually went to confession to him. You may read Pope John Paul II's homily at the canonization on several internet sites.
St. Padre Pio's feast day is celebrated on September 23rd.
Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but also with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.
St. Padre Pio
Greatful thanks is given to Mr. Glenn Dallaire, owner of
www.mysticsofthechurch.com for his kind permission in allowing us to reprint the biographical information of St. Padre Pio.