Close Encounters of the Special Kind with Padre Pio in the hallways, the backyard, the confessional, the Mass, the Wounds,
the inquisition, and around the world without leaving the convent.
With padre Pio the extraordinary was ordinary, the uncommon was common, the supernatural was natural, the unthinkable was routine, the unpredictable was norm.
Padre Pio going from his cell to the confessional is helped by Padre Mariano and Padre Alessio.
People in the hallway were all on their knees in spontaneous sign of respect.
They were allowed to line up to have a chance to talk to him when he passed, and get his blessing.
Children, soldiers, dignitaries, people from all walks of file; everybody had a chance to meet Padre Pio.
These encounters were extremely emotional
They were life changing.
The encounters were rich in prophecy, healing, and soul reading.
They were full of intense spirituality.
People gave him letters.
They asked for a blessing.
And the blessing of a panettone Alemagna.
Young seminarians kneeling while blessed by Padre Pio.
They told him their problems.
They asked him for guidance.
They asked him for healing.
And here are some few facts that happened during the close encounters of a special kind with Padre Pio in the hallways.
"My wife is expecting. What name should we give to the boy?""Call him Pio". And if is a girl? "Call him Pio". It was a boy.
Showing him a Rosary to be blessed: "But this is already blessed."
I showed him my Rosary and a Crucifix to be blessed, like I did every time I saw him. "How many times I have to give this blessing?"
"My wife every night kneels in front of your picture and asks for your blessing." "Yes, I know. And you laugh at her when she does that." That was true.
A man was told that he could ask Padre Pio for something by thinking about it during Mass. He did.
Later, in the hallway: Father, pray for my sister. Padre Pio:"You already told me."
Father my daughter is sick. "And you are much sicker than your daughter." "No, no, I'm feeling very well."
"How can you be well if you have so many sins on your conscience? I see at least 32 of them."
A women was on her knees hoping to kiss Padre Pio's hand when he passed. He passed but didn't stop and went on.
She felt bad, and in her heart complained. Padre Pio turned around and came straight to her: "Ok. Here is my hand."
A Dominican friar came in casual dress, with pants and pullover, not wanting to be recognized.
Padre Pio passing by told him: "Go, and come back in your Dominican habit."
The father of a spiritual daughter of Padre Pio was for the first time kneeling in the hallway.
Padre Pio passing by told him: "You are Adriana's father. Right?"
A priest went to visit Padre Pio, wearing dress and necktie, not wanting to be recognized.
Padre Pio passing by: "Reverend, You should not be ashamed of visiting me.
Next time come dressed as a priest."
On a bus, in an organized trip to see Padre Pio, in 1961, a man tells his wife: "I'm going to just accompany you, because I don't believe in this imposter." When Padre Pio passed: "Well, here is the imposter."
And puts his hand on his head, while the man asks for forgiveness.
One night a large group of pilgrims stood at the closed doors of the church and told their guardian angels what they would tell Padre Pio the day after.
The day after: "Naughty people. Not even during the night you leave me alone."
Gemma Di Giorgi, born on Christmas day in 1939, was blind, born without pupils. In 1947 she was brought to padre Pio. In the hallway Padre Pio touched her eyes and she started seeing normally.
Still without pupils. Padre Pio told her mom: "Don't worry, the child sees, and you know it."
"I had no pupils in my eyes," said Gemma in 1971, several years after Padre Pio's death. “I had no sight at all. Today I still see normally. As you can seen I have no pupils."
Maria Pompilio testified that one evening her brother was praying when he began to doze off. Someone slapped him on the cheek and the hand seemed the one of Padre Pio.
The day after, he asked Padre Pio if he had slapped him. "That's what happens when you doze off while you are praying."
A man decided to stop smoking and to offer it as a penance for Padre Pio. Every night he would stop by an image of Padre Pio and show an unopened packet
of cigarettes, and say: Father, here is one. Next night: Here are two. And so on.
When he met Padre Pio: Father, are 81 days since I stopped. "I know, and you made me count the packets every night."
Joseph from San Giovanni Rotondo decided to get married on September 12 and went to Padre Pio to tell him the news.
Padre Pio: "No, you will get married on September 8." Back at home the mom told him:
Son, you can't married the 12th because your cousin has chosen that date for her wedding. We might have to chose the 8th."
Joseph than told his mom of the conversation with Padre Pio.
On July 1930, 24 years old Giuseppina Marchetti had her right arm and shoulder badly crashed in an accident. Several doctors couldn't help.
She went to Padre Pio with her father. Padre Pio told her:"You will recover." Back home, on September 17 father and daughter smelled an intense perfume
of daffodils and roses lasting 15 minutes. She felt healed. An x-ray was perfectly normal.
Professor Enrico Medi reports that he was driving the narrow road to San Giovanni, thinking that was his daughter's birthday and she was blowing the candles at that time.
He missed a narrow bend of the road, and was about to crash in an incoming car. But the cars stopped few inches from each other.
That afternoon Padre Pio seeing him said: "You blow the candles, and I drive the car."
Padre Pio told a policeman who was on duty near him: "Go home to your parents. In a week you are going to die."
"But I'm perfectly healthy." "You will be even better in a week."
He went on leave, and once home he told his parents what Padre Pio had said. A week later he suddenly had a heart attack and died.
A blind man begged Padre Pio to restore his sight “even if only
in one eye,” “Only in one eye?”
A blind man begged Padre Pio to restore his sight “even if only in one eye,” “Only in one eye?” Some weeks later:
“So, you are seeing normally again?” “Yes, from this eye here, not from the other.”
“So, you are seeing normally again?”
“Yes, from this eye here, not from the other.”
Only from one eye? Let that be a lesson to you. Never put limitations on God.
Always ask for the big grace!”
“Ah! Only from one eye? Let that be a lesson to you. Never put limitations on God. Always ask for the big grace!”
In May 1925 a mom gives birth to a child with severe malformations. The doctors say there is nothing they can do. The mother gets with her newborn
on a train to San Giovanni Rotondo. The child dies during the trip. She decides to see Padre Pio anyway. In front of him she implores for help.
Padre Pio appears moved. He puts his hand on the head of the child. The mother cries loudly. Padre Pio says: "Why are you crying?
Don't you see that the child was just asleep?" The child starts moving like he had been awakened from a long sleep.
There was a general commotion and the people present broke up into an ovation.
On February 1958 Laurino Costa sent a telegram to Padre Pio: "Pray for me to find a job." He receive a telegram back “Come to San Giovanni Rotondo at once.”
On the 4th he met Padre Pio for the first time: “Laurino, I see you have arrived. You will feed my sick.” “But Padre, Laurino protested,
I’ve never cooked an egg in my life.” Padre Pio insisted: “Go and feed my sick. I will always be near you.”
Laurino went to Casa Sollievo and was told: “You must be the experienced cook we’ve been waiting for.” The same day he was preparing meals for 450 people.
Laurino admitted to Fr. John Schug, capuchin (A Padre Pio Profile):
“To this day (14 years later) I still don’t know what happened.
All day long I found myself calmly working and telling others what to do, as though I was carrying out a routine I had been used to.”
A woman from Pesaro, the wife of a workman, brought her deaf and dumb daughter to Padre Pio. He cured her instantly.
In an outburst of gratitude the woman took a gold chain from the child's neck, the only object of value that she owned, and gave it to Padre Pio for the Virgin.
When she returned home she told everything to her husband. He flew into a rage at the offering she had made to the Father.
He said that she should have chosen some other article rather than the gift that he himself had made to his daughter.
The next morning they found the chain on the bed table.
Paolina, mother of five, from San Giovanni Rotondo, known to Padre Pio as a special soul, fell gravely ill before Easter.
The doctors said there was nothing that they could do to save her. The husband and children went to Padre Pio to implore his help.
He said: "She will resurrect on Easter Sunday". On Good Friday she lost consciousness. On the morning of Holy Saturday she went into a coma.
The relatives went again to Padre Pio. He said: "She will resurrect." She died late Saturday evening. The family made the preparations for her body
to be dressed in her wedding gown as it was customary in the area. Padre Pio started the Easter Vigil Mass and at the moment of the Glory,
when the bells ring and the organ resounds he started crying. At the same time Paolina got up un-helped, kneeled beside the bed and started reciting
aloud the "Credo". Everybody was astonished. They asked her what had happened. She said: "I was climbing and climbing happily. When I was about
to enter in a great light I started coming back, and went back." Padre Pio had not said "She will recover" but "She will resurrect."
The first ever newspaper article about Padre Pio was published on IL MATTINO of Naples on June 20, 1919:
“Padre Pio, il ‘santo’ di San Giovanni Rotondo, opera un miracolo sulla persona del Cancelliere del paese. Presente un nostro inviato.'
'Padre Pio, 'the saint' of San Giovanni Rotondo, performs a miracle on the local courthouse's chancellor. Our envoy was present.'
The journalist Renato Trevisani reported that Padre Pio saw the 35 years old Pasquale Di Chiara walking painfully with two canes.
Padre Pio : "Throw away those canes." 'How could I? I will fall to the ground.' "Throw away those canes" Padre Pio insisted.
Pasquale let the canes go while trying to reach for a support. But there was no need. He was standing normally.
"Man of little faith. Go and walk."
Renato Trevisani concluded that several people were present, and all of them clapped their hands in admiration.
Pasquale Di Chiara's daughter was using braces on her legs for infantile paralysis.
When she met Padre Pio he asked her to take them off. She was able to walk and never use them again.
Francesco Visco, age 43, had walked on crutches because of a deformity contracted right after birth.
The children used to make fun of him all the time. He lived near the convent. He asked Padre Pio: 'Heal me."
Padre Pio:"Throw away those crutches." Francesco walker normally for the first time, and for several years until death.
People meeting Padre Pio as he passes thorough the passageway.
Attorney Mario Gentile reports that his car slid on an icy road, went off street, and was totaled. During the accident he felt like somebody was holding
him firmly on his seat. He was unharmed. Few days later he went to Padre Pio, who said: "Be careful, because the cars can play funny tricks."
In 1926 Concetta Bellarmini, while in critical condition, was suggested to pray Padre Pio. She did.
Later, a capuchin friar standing and smiling at her bedside said: " Sunday morning you will be healed."
She did recover. Weeks later she went to thank Padre Pio. From afar she exclaimed: 'That's him. That's exactly him."
Maria Pompilio testified that a man approaching Padre Pio said: 'Yes, he is the one. I'm not mistaken.' Than, kneeling and in tears said over and over:
'Father thank you for saving my life.' Outside the church he told Pompilio. 'I was captain in the infantry in the battlefield under heavy fire.
I saw a monk a short distance away who called me.' "Captain come here by immediately." 'I did, and even before I reached him
a grenade exploded were I had been, leaving a hole in the ground. When I turned back the monk was not there anymore.'
In 1919 Padre Clemente Centra went to visit Padre Pio, bringing along his nephew Alberto. Padre Pio asked little Alberto: "Do you want be a monk?" No.
"Why not?" I want to be a Salesian priest. "I understand." Than he said: "You will become a capuchin friar like your uncle."
He became the capuchin friar Padre Alberto D'Apolito.
Photographer Modesto Vinelli testifies that he used to see Padre Pio almost daily and take pictures of him.
One day at the end of 1918 Padre Pio told him: "Modesto, we have fifty years ahead of us."
He was also taking pictures on the day of the 25th anniversary, in 1943. Padre Pio told him: "Modesto remember that we still have 25 years to go."
On September 20, 1968, Padre Pio told him: "Modesto, the fifty years are over." Padre Pio died few days later, Modesto lived until 1983.
Cecil Humphrey-Smith from Canterbury, England, in 1955 had a car accident with multiple fractures of the scull ad cervical vertebrae. He partially recovered, but had a persistent terrible headache.
In 1962 he met Padre Pio in the sacristy. While Cecil was
kneeling, Padre Pio tapped his head forcefully tree times. The pain vanished,
and never reappeared. No words were said.
No words were said.
Brusque manners were used at times by Padre Pio to shake up and bring repentance, to keep away the curious and the fanatics.
Padre Pio wanted to bring lost souls back to God as soon as possible: "I can hit my children. I want to bring them up fast with blows".
There was always a reason for his roughness. People actually snipped bits off his habit with nail scissors when they knelt in the corridor as he was passing.
"Go away. What are you her for? What do you want from me?
They cut my cord and habit with scissors. This is paganism. This is fanaticism."
"I'm forced to be rude. I am sorry, but if I don't act this way, they will kill me."
"I'm only superficially upset. But my heart is always calm and serene".
"Do as I do. if I have an outburst, internally I am always serene."
"Sometimes words must be a little angry externally, however, serenity never leaves me."
On July 14, 1920 he wrote "I sometimes raise my voice when correcting people. I realize that this is a shameful weakness. I regret it."
"I beg you not to criticize me by invoking charity, because the greatest charity is to deliver souls held fast by Satan in order to win them over to Christ."
To spiritual director Padre Agostino suggesting him to be softer and less severe:"I could obey you, but each time it is Jesus who tells me how I am to deal with people."
The backyard and the humor of Padre Pio
Close encounters with Padre Pio in the backyard and courtyard of the convent at recess recreation time (30 minutes after lunch).
Padre Pio called it 'prendere una boccata d'aria' "to go out for a breath of fresh air".
Padre Pio 'breathing fresh air'
Padre Pio thinking and relaxing.
Padre Pio with his brother Michele Forgione
Padre Pio in the backyard with friars and friends.
Padre Pio walking in the vineyard.
Padre Pio walking.
Padre Pio walking in the orchard.
Padre Pio in the garden with some friars.
Padre Pio with friars and visitors
Tenor Beniamino Gigli singing "Mamma", Padre Pio's favorite song.
Padre Pio listening to Beniamino Gigli singing for him.
Beniamino Gigli with Padre Pio in 1954.
When Padre Pio went in the garden for about a half hour of "recreation" socializing, he used to say some funny stories.
Padre Pio socializing with his brother and friends.
Joe (Giuseppe, in Italian) Peterson, Pietruccio Cugino, and a physician were sitting in the garden."Giuseppe, do the gallina imitation." The physician:
"Padre in New York they don't have chickens (galline), they only have skyscrapers." Joe did a great imitation of the gallina.
Padre Pio tried too, but his imitation was very feeble. The physician: "Padre, what is the matter with your chicken?"
Padre Pio: "Giuseppe does a chicken who is well. Mine is just recovering from paying the doctor's bill."
Carlo Campanini told his doctor in Florence: "Tomorrow I'm going to see Padre Pio."
The doctor: "He is an hysterical who got the wound by thinking so much about Jesus on the Cross.
" When Campanini visited Padre Pio:
"When you see him, tell him to think intensely about being an ox. Let's see if he grows horns."
Prof. Bruno Rabajotti was present to a long conversation between Padre Pio and a german gentleman.
Prof. Rabajotti:"They spoke presumably in German. A language unknown to me.'
Padre Pio:"Why don't you join the conversation?" 'We spoke German all three of us. It was so easy.'
During a lightning, to a friar helping him. "Father lets move away from the transformer. Ten people were killed yesterday.
"We ran no risk of this. There are only two of us."
"Father I haven't smelt you perfume for a long time" "You are here with me so you don't need to."
"What is like a sick person in between two doctors? A mouse between two cats!"
"Who enters first, the doctors or the lawyer? The butchers first and than the thieves ."
The drunken:"Why Lord you have given a thousand feet to this little caterpillar, and I can't hold myself up on two."
Padre Pio used to say frequently this anecdote:
The king was coming to inspect, and the recruit was prepared by the sergeant: The King will ask you 3 questions: how old are you? Answer 22.
How long have you been in the army? Answer 2. Whom you like most, your king or your country? Answer: both.
The king came and asked the recruit: How many years have you been in the army? 22. How old are you? 2.
The king got frustrated and said: Either of us is stupid. The recruit's answer:"Both your majesty."
"Keep an attitude of holy joyousness, that gives encouragement to others."
"When I am dead I will make an even bigger din than when I was alive."
About his painful sufferings:"Well, a fool was needed for this".
Singer Furio Rendine kissing Padre Pio's hand
Padre Pio with Aldo Moro
Padre Pio in intimate conversation with Aldo Moro
Padre Pio with actor Carlo Campanini
Padre Pio with President Antonio Segni
Padre Pio with Antonio Segni President of Italy.
Padre Pio with cyclist champion Fausto Coppi
Padre Pio visiting with Italian Carabinieri
Padre Pio with a group of Italian Carabinieri.
Padre Pio with a smiling Antonio Pandisca
Padre Pio with a friend
Padre Pio with doctors of Casa Sollievo
A nun of Casa Sollievo
Padre Pio in the sacristy after Mass.
Padre Pio with Enrico Medi and friars at Casa Sollievo
Padre Pio seems unhappy to see this lamb
Padre Pio with Alfredo Ronconi
Padre Pio with Dr. Andrea Cardone
Padre Pio having an haircut by Vincenzo Maniscalchi
Padre Alessio tinkering with Padre Pio' beard
The final touch before the evening prayers.
Fra' Daniele kissing Padre Pio's hand while he is sick in bed.
Padre Carmelo checking if Padre Pio needs anything while sick in bed.
next: Padre Pio around the world without leaving the convent
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Close Encounters of the Special Kind with PADRE PIO: hallways, backyard; around the world, ecstasies; Purgatory, Guardian Angel, devil; Americans; confessional, baptisms, first Communions, weddings; Virgin Mary, Rosary; Wounds; Mass; himself, God, Jesus, Cross, Christmas, Church; spiritual children, meditation, prayer, Prayer Groups; child, novice, priest, soldier, fevers; first inquisition, Saint Mary of the Graces, Home for the Relief of Suffering (Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza); the most famous picture, children, blessings, at the ballots downtown, eating; second inquisition, last ten years, death; the Capuchin friars; entombed in first resting place, blessed, saint, exhumed, displayed, final resting place in golden crypt; mosaics of the life of Padre Pio, Jesus, Saint Francis of Assisi; fists class relics with certificates; original painting, original icon.