St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

Feast Day - September 23

Priest, Mystic, Saint

Saint Pio of PietrelcinaFrancesco, named in honor of St.  Francis of Assisi, was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, peasant farmers, in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887.  From his childhood, it was evident that he was a special child of God.  Francesco was very devout even as a child, and at an early age felt drawn to the priesthood.  He became a Capuchin novice at the age of 16 and received the habit in 1902.  Francesco was ordained to the priesthood in 1910 after 7 years of study and became known as Padre Pio.

Padre Pio's most important gift was his ability to read people's hearts.  Because he could read their hearts, he helped people consider the roots of their sins, and not just the fruits, and to let God's love heal the roots of sin through the sacrament.  he was a gifted confessor who spent hours in the confessional bringing people closer to God by the forgiveness of sins.

On September 20, 1918, Padre Pio was kneeling in front of a large crucifix when he received the visible marks of the crucifixi
on (stigmata), making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of Church.  The doctor who examined Padre Pio could not find any natural cause for the wounds.  Upon his death in 1968, the wounds were no longer visible.  In fact, there was no scaring and the skin was completely renewed.  He had predicted 50 years prior that upon his death the wounds would heal.  The wounds of the stigmata were not the only mystical phenomenon experienced by Padre Pio.

The blood from the stigmata had an odor described by many as similar to that of perfume or flowers, and the gift of bilocation was attributed to him.  Padre Pio had the ability to read the hearts of the penitents who flocked to him for confession which he heard for ten or twelve hours per day.  Padre Pio used the confessional to bring both sinners and devout souls closer to God; he would know just the right word of counsel or encouragement that was needed.  Even before his death, people spoke to Padre Pio about his possible canonization.  He died on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one.  His funeral was attended by about 100,000 people.

On June 16, 2002, over 500,000 Padre Pio devotees gathered in Rome to witness Pope John Paul II proclaim Padre Pio, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina.  The Padre Pio Foundation and many benefactors traveled to Rome, San Giovanni Rotondo, Pietrelcina, Piana Romana and many other holy places to celebrate Padre Pio's Canonization.

Padre Pio Quotes

Prayer is the best armor we have, it is the key which opens the heart of God.

Pray, hope and don't worry. Anxiety doesn't help at all. Our Merciful Lord will listen to your prayer.

Don't spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: Lift up your spirit, and love God.

Our present life is given only to gain the eternal one and if we don't think about it, we build our affections on what belongs to this world, where our life is transitory. When we have to leave it we are afraid and become agitated. Believe me, to live happily in this pilgrimage; we have to aim at the hope of arriving at our Homeland, where we will stay eternally. Meanwhile we have to believe firmly that God calls us to Himself and follows us along the path towards Him. He will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for our greater good. He knows who we are and He will hold out His paternal hand to us during difficulties, so that nothing prevents us from running to Him swiftly. But to enjoy this grace we must have complete trust in Him.

Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.

You must speak to Jesus also with the heart, besides with the lips; indeed, in certain cases you must speak to Him only with the heart.

Oh, how precious time is!  Blessed are those who know how to make good use of it.  Oh, if only all could understand how precious time is, undoubtedly everyone would do his best to spend it in a praiseworthy manner!

A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

My heart feels as if it were being drawn by a superior force each morning just before uniting with Him in the Blessed Sacrament.  I have such a thirst and hunger before receiving Him that it's a wonder I don't die of anxiety.  I was hardly able to reach the Divine Prisoner in order to celebrate Mass.  When Mass ended I remained with Jesus to render Him thanks.  My thirst and hunger do not diminish after I have received Him in the Blessed Sacrament, but rather, increase steadily.  Oh, how sweet was the conversation I held with Paradise this morning.  The Heart of Jesus and my own, if you will pardon my expression, fused.  They were no longer two hearts beating but only one.  My heart disappeared as if it were a drop in the ocean.

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