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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Padre Pio (St Pio of Pietrelcina) – 1887 – 1968


Francesco Forgione, later known as Padre Pio, canonized as Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, was an Italian Roman Catholic Capuchin priest who is now venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He was given the name Pio when he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, and was popularly known as Padre Pio after his ordination to the priesthood. He became famous for his stigmata. Based on Padre Pio’s correspondence, even early in his priesthood he experienced less obvious indications of the visible stigmata for which he would later become famous. Though Padre Pio would have preferred to suffer in secret, by early 1919, news about the stigmatic friar began to spread in the secular world. Padre Pio’s wounds were examined by many people, including physicians. People who had started rebuilding their lives after World War I began to see in Padre Pio a symbol of hope. Those close to him attest that he began to manifest several spiritual gifts including the gifts of healing, bilocation, levitation, prophecy, miracles, extraordinary abstinence from both sleep and nourishment (One account states that Padre Agostino recorded one instance in which Padre Pio was able to subsist for at least 20 days at Verafeno on only the Eucharist without any other nourishment), the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues, the gift of conversions, and the fragrance from his wounds. Rather than using an image, I have used a video clip of St Pio – you can see his hands concealed by fingerless gloves to hide his stigmata. You may also be interested in this clip in which St Pio’s grave and coffin are opened (on March 3, 2008) revealing that his body is incorrupt. His body is now on display in San Giovanni Rotondo.

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