Introduction

A picture  is worth a thousand words. As an introduction to Padre Pio, the photographs will make us understand him better.

(Press on the thumbnails below to see a larger picture; than press the arrow  on the upper left of the screen to return to the page.)

 

 

Padre Pio moved in the convent of St. Mary of Graces in San Giovanni Rotondo in 1916.

He would stay there until his death in 1968.

Note the wilderness.

 

Padre Pio celebrated Mass at 5:00 AM. In the picture the men are standing still, packed around the altar. The women are staying in the pews. To be there on time, one had to get up at 3:00, and reach the church by 4:00, to be able to find a spot when the doors opened at 4:30.

 

This picture was taken in the 40's at 12:00 noon.

Padre Pio is at the window of the choir, above the entrance to the church, praying the "Angelus" with the faithful.

     Padre Pio wanted an hospital that would give proper medical care for the poor peasants in the forgotten landscape in the middle of nowhere were they lived, with no access to medical facilities.
     And he did it! He called it "Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza" (Home for the Relief of Suffering."
 

This picture was taken the day that Padre Pio was proclaimed saint on June 16, 2002.

The old convent and church are on the side of the large church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

The window of the choir were Padre Pio prayed the "Angelus" and waived to the crowd is still there.

 

Here we are in Rome, the day that Padre Pio was proclaimed blessed on May 2, 1999.

The number of pilgrims present at the ceremony is immense.

 

Padre Pio was proclaimed Saint on June 16, 2002

There is no other recollection of such a crowd packing Saint Peter's Square, and extending well beyond Via della Conciliazione.

 

Padre Pio' final resting place in the crypt with the gold ceeling of San Pio's church.

The body is in the pillar on the left, visible through an opening in the form of the side wound.

There can be no better ending and beginning for a man who was a gift of God to humanity for eternity.

  It all started on Vico Storto Valle ("Crooked Valley Lane") in Pietrelcina.

 

 

  WEBCAM located on top of the hospital "Casa Sollievo". It is updated every five seconds. It shows the complex of buildings that includes the churches and the convent.
Link to the live webcam.

 

Birth in Pietrelcina

1887   Padre Pio was born in Pietrelcina. Pietrelcina is a rural village in the province of Benevento, in Southern Italy.
  The maps help us figure out the location of Pietrelcina.
 
 (It reminds of an episode in the Gospel: John 1: 45 "Philip found Nathaniel and said to him, 'We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.' Nathanael said to him, 'From Nazareth? Can anything good come from that place?' Philip replied, 'Come and see.' ")  
    This is the birth certificate of Francesco Forgione. It states that the future Padre Pio was born on May 25, 1887, at 5:00 PM.
  In a letter in 1922, Padre Pio wrote:
“The Lord from my birth showed me signs of a very special predilection."
     He was baptized in the nearby Saint Anna's Church on May 26, 1887 the day after his birth, and given the name of Francesco.
This is the outside of Sant'Anna's church.
   This is the baptismal font were Francesco was baptized.
 As he reported later, he started seeing his guardian angel since he was in the crib.
"The Guardian Angel has been my companion since my infancy." He also stated seeing the devils: "When I was in the crib, and my mom exthinguished the oil lamp I saw those horrible monsters and screamed terrified.  Than

  mom turned the lamp back on, and the monsters disappeared, and I stopped screaming."

 

 

The Forgione family

  The name of Padre Pio’s father was Grazio, but he was known as  Orazio and called "Zi' Orazio" by his neighbors.
The mother was Maria Giuseppa De Nunzio and was called "Zi' Beppa".
The Forgiones were farmers, cultivating their own piece of land. They married on June 8, 1881. Both were illiterate. He was a laborer.
 She brought a dowry of about a hectare of land. They were not poor. There was food on the table every day. But there was very little cash.
 
         The house was located in Vico storto Valle, 32, in Pietrelcina.

Like in most houses at the time: No plumbing. No bathroom. No running water. No shower. No stove. No electricity. 

.
  The marble plaque outside the house tells that Francesco Forgione, the future Padre Pio da Pietrelcina, was born in this house.
 The crib preserved.
  The Forgiones had 8 children. The first born was Michele. Then Francesco, who died after 19 days, and Amalia who died at 20 months., When Francesco, the future Padre Pio was born, he was given the name of the older dead brother Francesco. He has also three younger sisters, Felicita, Pellegrina, and Grazia (who was later to become a Bridgettine nun0> The youngest brother, Mario, died before he turned 1 year old.
The land that they owned and cultivated was in Piana Romana, less that an hour walk away. They went to work there every day, and stayed there during the busier months.

 

 

Childhood

1892

A stained window in the church of Sant'Anna remembers an episode  of when he was  still in preschool age, and later reported in a letter by Padre Pio, when he had the first apparition of Jesus:  "I felt like not playing with the other kids on the parvis, and sat in a pew in the church, and Jesus from the tabernacle called me to the altar and put his hand on my head". At the time Francesco thought that this was normal to everybody.

 

 

Teacher Angelo Caccavo.  Francesco had very limited formal schooling. There were no public schools in his village. His first teacher was Cosimo Scocca, a farmer who had a fifth grade education. His first grade teacher was Mandato Saginato. Starting September 1898, age 11, he begun private lessons with  Domenico Tizzani, "per cinque lire al mese." The tuition of five lire per month was quite a bit in those times.  Padre Pio felt uncomfortable from day one, and after few months with don Tizzani, he changed teacher. He went to study with another teacher, Angelo Caccavo. With him Francesco got the elementary diploma. A notebook with 30 themes developed by Padre Pio when he studied with Caccavo is still preserved to these days.

1899 This is the first known picture of Francesco Forgione, taken at age 12.

Padre Pio received the First Communion on 27 September 1899, at age 12,and was confirmed the same day by the Archbishop of Benevento Mons. Donato Maria Dell'Olio in the parish church of St. Mary of the Angels, in Pietrelcina.
  This is Fra' Camillo da Sant'Elia a Pianisi.
 
Fra' Camillo was a capuchin brother who walked the countryside away from the convent to collect alms for the convent. Padre Pio saw him frequently in his childhood.
One day he told his mother:
"I want to be a friar with a beard, like fra' Camillo."
 
   Many times his mother found him sleeping on the floor, using a stone as a pillow. Other times she found him beating himself with a   chain. Questioned about it he said:  "I must do like the roman soldiers beat Jesus and made his shoulders bleed."

 

1902 In 1902 Padre Pio made a pilgrimage to Pompeii with his teacher Angelo Caccavo and six schoolmates.
 
“Soon I will enter the novitiate and there will be no more parties.” He also visited Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin oPompeii when he was military in Naples. He encouraged people to be “devout of the Virgin of Pompeii.”

 

 

 

Novice and student

1903

On January 6, 1903, Francesco left home for Morcone (30 Km from Pietrelcina) to begin the novitiate in the Capuchin Order. His mom gave him a Rosary (still preserved) and said; "My son, Saint Francis has called you, and you must go". Later he wrote: "My last night at home Jesus and his Mother came to assure me of their predilection". Francesco was accompanied to Morcone by the priest don Nicola Caruso and by his teacher Angelo Caccavo, with two other aspiring friars Antonio Bonavita and Vincenzo Masone. The distance between Pietrelcina and Morcone is about 25 miles. They made it by donkey and by train.

1904 On January 2, 1904 he pronounced the wows of charity, poverty and obedience.

The religious name PIO was chosen by the master of the novices.

1904    On January 26, 1904 brother Pio and brother Anastasio, accompanied by Padre Pio di Benevento, left Morcone for the convent of Sant’Elia a Pianisi (marked by a star in the map) were they would study rhetoric and frequent "quarta e quinta ginnasiale",  8th and 9th grade of middle school. 
1908

On October 1908, moves to Serracapriola (Foggia) to start studies of theology, continued at Montefusco (Avellino).

On December 19, 1908 Padre Pio received in the cathedral of Benevento, by the Archbishop Benedetto Bonazzi, the four minor orders of Doorkeeper, Reader, Exorcist, and Acolyte. Two days later, in the same cathedral of Benevento, Mons. Paolo Schinosi, archbishop titular of Marcianopolis, conferred him the Subdeaconate.

1909    On July 18, 1909, he was ordained Deacon in the church of the convent in Morcone.

 

 

Capuchin priest

1910   To be ordained priest the Canon Law requires that the candidate has at least twenty four years of age. When Padre Pio completed his studies for the priesthood he was 23 years and 3 months. So he needed a dispensation from the requirement. The document shows the dispensation given to Fra' Pio to become a priest at an earlier age. He implored Padre Benedetto, his superior, to ask the Vatican for the dispensation for the age requirement to be ordained priest, on the ground of his poor health: "So that if God has established to abbreviate my exile on the Earth, I will die happy. I don't have any other desire here on Earth."
1910                            
 
 On August 10, 1910, age 23, Padre Po was ordained priest in the Cathedral of Benevento by Mons. Paolo Schinosi, titular archbishop of Marcianopolis. This is the certificate of Ordination.
1910     

Padre Pio wrote on the souvenir prayer card:

 "O Jesus, may I be with you the way, the truth and life for the world".

 "O Jesus may I be with you a perfect victim".

The picture shows the handwritten statement by Padre Pio.

1910
  On August 14, 1910 he celebrated his 'First Solemn Mass in the parish church of Our Lady of the Angels in Pietrelcina'.

Padre Agostino said in the sermon: “You are in poor health so you can’t be a preacher. I wish you to be a great confessor.”

 

 

Padre Pio in Pietrelcina

 

  From 1910 to 1916 Padre Pio spent most of his time in poor health at home in Pietrelcina. Since he was ordained and was inappropriate for him to live in the family home, instead that in the convent, the parents prepared for him a single room up on a steep flight of stair, called La Torretta The little tower. He slept there.

La Torretta (The little tower) is a one room building, to which one can get climbing steep stairs. A table, a bed, a window. Here Padre Pio stayed until he went to Foggia, and from there and than San Giovanni Rotondo. It was very hard for Padre Pio in poor health to climb the steep steps of La Torretta. In La Torretta Padre Pio wrote letters to his spiritual directors, had frequent apparitions of Jesus and other heavenly beings, and was tormented by the devil with multiple temptations.

  To get to La Torretta Padre Pio had to pass through Porta Madonnella. He was very devout of the image of the Madonna depicted there.
  Padre Pio's home was in "Rione Castello" (Castle district), a medieval conglomerate of dwellings built on a elevation called "La Morgia." When he was in San Giovanni Rotondo he would say to the visitors from Pietrelcina "Say hi to La Morgia."
    While in Pietrelcina, in the morning Padre Pio said Mass in the parish church of Santa Maria degli Angeli (in the pictures).
In this church Padre Pio had frequent ecstasies  and also experienced the fusion of the hearts:
"The heart of Jesus and mine were no more two hearts beating, but only one. My heart had disappeared , like a drop of water disappearing in the ocean."

 
    After Mass he went to Piana Romana, about forty five minutes walk away.  There were two large stones that Padre Pio called "Il Seggiolone" (the high chair, or the big chair). Padre Pio spent hours kneeling or sitting on them in meditation and prayer.
1910   In Piana Romana Padre Pio's father built a shelter, under an elm tree, so that he could spend in the shade the many hours of prayer.

On September 20, 1918 Padre Pio received the permanently visible Wounds, In San Giovanni Rotondo. In reality he had received the Wounds years before. On the afternoon of September 7, 1910, few weeks after being ordained priest, while he was praying in Piana Romana, Jesus and Mary appeared and gave him the wounds. Padre Pio considered always September 7, 1910, the date he received the wound.

1910 A chapel commemorates the event.

Salvatore Pannullo, pastor of the Parish in Pietrelcina testified that in that afternoon of September 7, 1910 Padre Pio showed him the wounds and told him : "Father, do me a favor. Let's ask Jesus to take them away. I want to suffer, to die from suffering, but in secret." They prayed together, and God answered their prayer. The wounds disappeared and the suffering continued.

When Pannullo was told in 1918 that the wounds had appeared on Padre Pio, he replied: You see the now. I saw them in 1910."  

In a letter to fra Benedetto, his spiritual director, dated September 8, 1910, he wrote: "Yesterday evening some red spots appeared in the middle of my hands with sharp pain." When years later Padre Pio recalled those events he would say: "Jesus has been there. All has happened there."

1911   Padre Pio's health was not good. On  October 1911, after a physical examination by the famous dr. Antonio Cardarelli in Naples, he was sent for convalescence to Venafro. According to the diagnosis of the celebrated physician, the young friar's days were numbered, and he couldn't travel long distances, which is why he was sent to Venafro, location of the closest convent.
  The convent and church in Venafro today.
During the month and a half stay in that convent, the community noticed the first supernatural phenomena: divine ecstasies lasting up to one hour, and diabolic apparitions lasting a few minutes.
1911  

   In Venafro, from Fr. Agostino's diary: 'Starting in November 1911, I was present with Fr. Evangelista, the superior of the monastery, for a considerable number of ecstasies, and many instances of demonic oppression." Satan would appear as a nude woman dancing lewdly, as is spiritual father, as his superior, pope Pius X, his guardian angel, St. Francis, the Virgin Mary, and also as the horrible self, with an army of demonic spirits.  At times there were no apparitions but he was beaten until he bled, tormented with deafening noises, covered with spit. He was able to free himself from the torments by calling on the name of Jesus." Padre Pio always distinguished the devil's apparitions from the heavenly visions by asking: "Say Long Live Jesus."  (Ripeti 'Viva Gesu'). If it was the devil, he would disappear.

1911    This picture was taken in Venafro as a keep-sake memento, when it was believed that Padre Pio's days were numbered. He was 24 years old.  
                The Madonna della Libera festivities in Pietrelcina at the times of Padre Pio.  
    The map shows all the places were Padre Pio lived, in the southern part of Italy.

 

 

 

Military service

    The picture shows Padre Pio in military uniform.
He served in the Italian Army from 1915 to 1918. He spent most of the time on sick leave. On November 6, 1915 Padre Pio was drafted, at age 28.  On December 6, 1915 the recruit #12094, was assigned to the 10th Company of Health in Naples. On December 17, 1915 a medical consultation diagnoses 'pulmonary infiltration', and grants 1 year of convalescent leave.
       
  Church of St. Anna and Capuchin convent in Foggia.
Starting February 17, 1916 he spent most of the convalescence in the convent of St. Ann Foggia, in search of a more suitable place for his frail health.  But even there he continued to feel sick: vomiting, sudden sweats, dizziness, and a very high fever. At night, terrifying noises came from his room. They ended with a boom that would shake the walls and terrorize the other friars.

 He told father Benedetto that it was the devil who, unable to win, exploded in fits of rage.

 He stayed in Foggia until September 4, 1916.

                        
On September 4, 1916 Padre Pio moves to the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo.

On December 18, 1916 he returns to the Military hospital. December 30, 1916, new medical consultation. He was granted 6 months of sick leave. On September 4, 1917, he started training in the Military Hospital of Naples. On November 5, 1917, 6 more months of medical leave. 

 

Padre Pio had long bouts of high fevers, followed by normal temperatures. Padre Pio himself described the experience as a "moral, rather than a physical, illness" and said it was like he was  "in a furnace, still always conscious". A friar attested that "even under the strain of this fever, Padre Pio is not knocked down, but gets up, moves about, and can do everything." The body temperature was taken by mercury thermometer, today no longer in common use. Normal body temperature is 98.2°F (or 36.8°C). A temperature at or above about 104 °F (40 °C) requires treatment.

Dr. Giorgio Festa in 1920 took Padre Pio's temperature as part of his investigation. The reading was 48.5 C .  In 1921 Father Lorenzo, superior of the convent, testified under oath to Mons. Rossi that he was skeptical, and had personally witnessed and recorded Padre Pio with fevers of 43C (109.4F) degrees Fahrenheit, then 45C (113F) degrees, and finally 48C (118.4F) degrees.

 

On December 1915 at the Trinity Military Hospital in Naples, during a routine physical, Padre Pio's temperature was taken by dr. Giuseppe Grieco,

lieutenant medical doctor in the Italian Army,  with a armpit mercury thermometer. In less than one minute the thermometer cracked, having gone over the maximum temperature of 42C (107.6). Three other thermometers cracked the same way. Dr. Grieco called in a colleague dr. Francesco Melle. They decided to try with a bath thermometer, removed from the casing that could read up to 80C (176F).  The thermometer read 48C (118.4). They couldn't believe it, so they tried with a laboratory precision thermometer. This time the temperature was 49C (120.2).

They decided to inform the captain prof. dr. Felice D'Onofrio, chief of medical services. He came in, measured again, and the reading was 49C.

"This is a mystery. This is impossible. I can't believe my eyes. He should be in agony. This man is either a saint or a devil." He prescribed quinine and went to see him in the morning. He took again the temperature and was 36.7C (98.06). "I don't understand anything. Let's send him home to die in peace." He gave him a year of medical leave.

       

On March 6, 1918, back in the military hospital. On March 16, 1918 he was discharged for medical reason for "double broncho alveolitis."

 

Padre Pio's certificate of honorable discharge from the Italian Army.

 

 

 

 

The stigmata wounds

 

1916 On September 4, 1916 Padre Pio went for a supposedly brief stay to the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo.
The climate appeared to be beneficial to him, and instead of a few weeks, he stayed there for 52 years, until his death.
1918

August 5, 1918 TRANSVERBERATION of the heart of Padre Pio. Transverberation is a spiritual wounding of the heart, as a reward by God for loving him. Several saints experienced it. Some few names: Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Veronica Giuliani, Marguerie Marie Alacoque, Gerard Majella, Joseph of Cupertino, Francis de Sales, Philip Neri, Jane Francis de Chantal, Lutgarde, Charles of Sezze.

Padre Pio about the Transverberation, reported under obedience on August 5, 1918 "I was hearing the confessions of the boys, when a Celestial Being holding a steel sword with a sharp flaming point, hurled it into my soul with all his might. All done in a split of a second everything in my inside was lashed by fire and steel.From that moment on I feel an open wound which causes me to suffer continual agony."  

                                                       
 Padre Pio received the visible permanent stigmata wounds on September 20, 1918, while praying at this Crucifix, in the choir of the church of the convent, after having celebrated Mass in the morning. He was 31 years old.
  This is the location were Padre Pio received the stigmata wounds. Over the years he continue to pray in the same spot.

Padre Pio reported under obedience:

"Suddenly I was wrapped in a sea of  blazing light. In that light I saw Jesus. He was very beautiful. From his wounds came rays of very bright white light that penetrated my hands, my feet, my side. They were like blades of fire that penetrated my skin piercing, cutting, breaking. I felt that I would die. The pain was immense."

 

 

 

After the wounds

1918 Padre Pio was alone in the choir when he received the wounds. He felt embarassment, and tried to hid them the best he could. The father superior suspected something after few days because of the stains of blood noted here and there. He confronted Padre Pio, and under obedience got the truth.
    The father superior immediately called the doctor in town for an evaluation and advice. The superior provincial was notified, and he informed the superior general in Rome. The superior general reported what was happening to the Vatican authorities. Several medical doctors and ecclesiastical prelates were sent to the convent to investigate the situation.
Padre Pio was ordered to answer every question and show the wounds to the investigators. A friar took some few pictures. All this was very hard on Padre Pio, but he showed extreme patience and understanding. The wounds were very painful, day and night, and he tried to find ways to prevent the blood from dripping everywere.
  He tried to cover the hands the best he could when he said Mass. But the faithful noted that something was different and they noted the wounds, and by word of mouth the news spread, and the crowds started coming well before the investigators did.

"I have asked Jesus to take away this signs that cause me so much embarrassment. His answer has  been: you will bear them for fifty years."

 "I want to suffer, but in secret." "I desire nothing else than to love and suffer"  "My sufferings are pleasing." 
  Padre Pio had some few pictures taken under obedience.

"Jesus, let me suffer, and let me die from suffering."  "I suffer because I cannot win all my brothers to God." 
"I suffer everything that Jesus suffered in the Passion."
“I suffer only when I don't suffer."
 
"I suffer as much as anyone who has the whole of humanity on his back."  
  He started covering the hands with some sort of half gloves.
He would remove them only during Mass, and put them back while still at the altar.

"The Angels are jealous of us because they can't suffer."
 "My suffering gives glory to God, saves my brothers in exile, and frees the souls from Purgatory."
    Padre Pio intensified his spiritual life with the new situation he was in, and also tried to help the faithful, and to be of least possible burden to the friary.
  The news about Padre Pio spread steadily beyond the Gargano and people started coming from all over.
 Souvenir cards with his image popped up.
The card on the left says: "Padre Pio da Pietralcina. Fotograph taken during the celebration of the Mass in the church of the convent of the capuchins on June 24, 1919. San Giovanni Rotondo."
The card at the center says: "True effigy of the holy priest Padre Pio Capuchin from Pietralcina. Picture taken on June 27, 1919.
    The newspapers took notice, and soon sent their journalists mingled through the visitors.
1919

On May 9, 1919 the “Il Giornale d’Italia” was the first newspaper to report about Padre Pio.

On June 1, 1919 “Il Tempo” run a title “Il miracolo di un Santo” describing he instantaneous healing of a soldier by Padre Pio.

On June 3, 1919 the same paper “Il Tempo” titles “I miracoli di Padre Pio a San Giovanni Rotondo”, reports some prodigies attributed to the friar. Also reports that “at times his body reaches temperatures of 50 C (F 122) as it has been observed with bath thermometers)”.

  The first full page 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. 

  On June 19, 1920 the “Daily Mail” reports “extraordinary events happening daily in San Giovanni Rotondo”, and describes how the wounds had been investigated by the doctors and prelates“.
On October 27, 1923 the Belgian newspaper “Le Soir” describes the wounds, the examinations, the prodigies and the “very high fevers of 48-50C “(118-122 F).
Since 1919 innumerable articles about Padre Pio have been written in most every language in the papers around the world.
    With all the action going on around him Padre Pio did not lose his joyful ways. He continued and intensified his ministry, with the Mass lasting close to three hours,  confessing twelve to fifteen hours per day, answering the correspondence, giving solid spiritual direction, and with three or four hours left for sleep.
1922 Thing seemed to go well for Padre Pio's ministry, But soon they changed dramatically.
On June 22, 1922 Padre Antonio da San Giovanni in Persiceto, General Superior of the Capuchin Order, received a document signed by the  Secretary of the Supreme Congregation of  the Holy Office:
 
'The most Eminent General Inquisitors Cardinals deliberated on May 10, 1922, regarding Padre Pio da Pietrelcina... He will celebrate Mass in private. He will not bless the people.He will not show to anybody the so called stigmata. He will stop immediately any communication with Padre Benedetto, his spiritual director. To best execute the above orders Padre Pio will be immediately transferred to a convent preferably in Northern Italy. Padre Pio will no more answer letters. Whishing all the best, Cardinal Rafael Merry Del Val."
1923   On May 31, 1923 the Holy Office (formerly Tribunal of Inquisition) declares: "The Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office, responsible for upholding the faith and defending morals, held an inquiry on the phenomena attributed to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, a member Friar Minor of the Capuchins at the Monastery  of San Giovanni Rotondo in the Diocese of Foggia, and declares that: it cannot confirm from this inquiry any basis for the supernatural character for this phenomena (" ...non constare de eorundem factorum supernaturalitate...")  and exhorts the faithful to confirm their practices to this declaration."
  On June 8, 1923. Sant'Uffizio asks for Padre Pio to be transferred to another convent, in Northern Italy or abroad. Also orders that his Mass be celebrated in private and nobody can assist to it.
    On August 8, 1923 Padre Pio is notified of the order to be transferred in another convent. "As a devout son of the holy obedience, and for what depends on me, i will obey without opening mouth."
    On August 12, 1923 in a letter to Francesco Morcaldi, Padre Pio states: "The will of my superiors is the will of God. I only wish that my bones will rest in a quiet corner of this land."
    At thi point a popular revolt takes place, and the police reports that the transfer order cannot be implemented without "spilling of blood" (spargimento di sangue).  On September 2, 1923 the order of transfer is revoked 'donec aliter' (until new disposition is given).
   
1931  On May 13, 1931. A decree of Sant'Uffizio prohibits Padre Pio from celebrating Mass in public. Padre Pio: "I will have less work and more merits."
 
Padre Pio:
"I want to live and die in the (Roman Catholic) Church."  "The Church is always a mother even when it strikes."

     Padre Pio:

  "Only the Catholic Church possesses Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament."
 
"Other Christian religions were founded by different men, but the Catholic religion was founded directly by Jesus Christ."
1933      Padre Pio celebrating Mass alone in the internal chapel of the convent.
    On July 15 1933, the restrictions were lifted, and Padre Pio resumed Mass in public.
The removal came in the form of and Indult (special concession) from Cardinal Donato Sbarretti, secretary of the Holy Office,"in consideration that in this year 1933 there is the celebration of the extraordinary Holy Year of the Redemption".
With the removal of the restrictions for Padre Pio started  a long period of intense apostolate.

 

 

    The Scourging
Padre Pio reported under obedience to his superior that at least once per week he suffered the scourging.
This Padre Pio's undershirt, presenting the bloody signs of the scouging,  is preserved in the Capuchin convent of the Holy family in Pietrelcina.


"I suffer the scourging from the beginning to the end of the Mass, but more intensely after the Consecration."
                                                          
 
The Way of the Cross
This undershirt of Padre Pio is preserved in plexiglass frame in Padre Pio's original cell #5 in San Giovanni Rotondo.  Bloody marks are clearly visible over the right shoulder. Fra' Modestino refers to this undershirt. At the bottom right there is the certificate of authenticity. 
Padre Pio confided to brother Modestino Fucci, that his greatest pains occurred when he changed his undershirt.  Brother Modestino was the doorkeeper at Padre Pio’s friary.
On February 4, 1971 Modestino was assigned the task of taking an inventory of all the items in the deceased Padre’s cell. The same day he discovered that one of Padre Pio’s undershirts bore a circle of bloodstains in the area of the right shoulder.  On that evening asked Padre Pio in prayer to enlighten him about the meaning of the bloodstained undershirt. He awakened at 1:00 AM with a terrible, excruciating pain in his shoulder, as if he had been sliced with a knife up to the shoulder bone. He felt that he would die from the pain if it continued, but it lasted only a short time. Then the room became filled with perfume of flowers – the sign of Padre Pio’s presence –
and he heard a voice saying "Cosi ho sofferto io!"  (This is what I have suffered!")

 

 

 

The "Epistolario" (Epistolary)

Most of Padre Pio's quotes come from his writings

    The Epistolary is the collection of the letters written by Padre Pio or addressed to him by his spiritual directors, spiritual children, other friars, and ecclesiastical authorities. It also includes his spitirual will, and other writings by him. They have been collected in four volumes and edited by the capuchin friars Melchiorre da Pobladura, Alessando da Ripobottoni, and Gerardo Di Flumeri.
Currently in Italian the fourth edition of 2000, has been reprinted in 2011-2012, with revisions and correction. There is also an English edition.
  The first volume includes the correspondence with Padre Pio's spiritual directors between 1910 and 1922. 4th Italian Edition 2011

Padre Pio wrote 111 letters to Padre Benedetto and 151 to Padre Agostino.

He received 66 letters from Padre Benedetto and 179 from Padre Agostino.

  Padre Benedetto da San Marco in Lamis             Padre Agostino da San Marco in Lamis
  The second volume includes the correspondence with noblewoman Raffaelina Cerase (1914-1915), 3rd Italian edition, 2011

 

97 letters in all, 56 from Padre Pio to Raffaelina, and 41 from Raffaelina to Padre Pio.

  Noblewoman Raffaelina Cerase from Foggia, Italy.
Raffaelina Cerase, from Foggia, now Servant of God.   In 1914 she started exchange of numerous letters with Padre Pio for spiritual direction. In 1915 she became gravely ill and asked if Padre Pio could come to Foggia to confess her. At that time Padre Pio was at home in Pietrelcina in convalescent leave. He was solicited to go to Foggia by padre Agostino and padre Benedetto. He was in Foggia on February 17, 1916 and stayed at the capuchin convent of St. Anna. Raffaelina Cerase was visited daily by Padre Pio from February 17, 1916, until the day of her death on March 25, 1916.

   Vol. III Correspondence with spiritual daughters (1915-1923) 4th edition, 2012

21 letters to Annita Rodote. 15 letters to Margherita Tresca, and 12 letters from Margherita Tresca. 67 letters to Maria Gargani, 35 to Assunta Di Tomaso, 6 to Lucia Fiorentino, 19 to Rachelina Russo, 43 to the Ventrella sisters Vittorina, Elena Maria, and Filomena. 69 letters to Erminia Gargani, 45 letters to Antonietta Vona, 31 to the Campanile sisters Lucia, Maria, and Rachelina. 4 letters to Girolama Longo, 10 to Frieda Folger, 22 to Elena Bandini, 3 to Violante Masone, 2 letters to Graziella Pannullo. 

 

Vol IV Correspondence with several people. 3rd Italian edition, 2012. The voume includes letters to ecclesiastical authorities, fellow Capuchin friars, diocesan priests, friends, and spiritual sons. Letters to three families: Bavassano-Devoto, Marchesani-Leontina, Melchioni-Lagorio. Letters to his own parents and relatives.  Spiritual will of Padre Pio. Writings by Padre Pio.  

  An example of Padre Pio handwriting. The letter has the date 22-10-'18. In Italian the day of the month comes before the month and before the years. The letter was written on October 22, 1918.

 

 

 

 

Padre Pio's hospital "Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza" (Home for the Relief of Suffering).

 

In 1940 Padre Pio started thinking of a new hospital. Here he is with dr. Sanvico.

The evening of January 9, 1940 the Home for the relief of suffering was born. A tiny committee formed by dr. Kiswarday, secretary, dr. Sanguinetti, dr. Sanvico secretary, miss Seits, and Padre Pio, founder, got immediately into action.

  Padre Pio with dr. Sanvico, dr. Sanguinetti and others.
 From the minutes of the first meeting: "It is agreed that everything undertaken must be subject to Padre Pio's advice." Padre Pio got from a pocket a small gold coin which had been given to him and said:
  "I want to be the first to make an offering for the Home for the Relief of Suffering." 
  Padre Pio refused to consider a bank loan.   
  Maria Basilio Venchi, a spiritual daughter, brought the most part of the land were the future hospital would be built, and donated it to Padre Pio.
      Angela Serritelli, also spiritual daughter, owned the adjacent part of the land needed for the hospital. She donated it to Padre Pio.
  Barbara Ward in the chapel of the hospital "Casa Sollievo". The Madonna in the stained window bears resemblance to Barbara.

Barbara Ward was instrumental in securing the funding for the construction of the hospital from UNRRA.
On June 21, 1948 the UNRRA awarded a grant of four hundred millions of Italian lire for the construction of the hospital.
  Barbara Ward: “Padre Pio had downright common sense and intensely practical attitude towards life. Padre Pio never forgot that Our Lord not only preached to souls, but also healed bodies. Padre Pio lived in southern Italy in an area of unrelieved poverty which was the root of so many neglected diseases, lifelong illnesses, crippling, blindness, infirmities and miseries. This was the tragic load he had to deal with from the moment he entered the church at dawn until the last penitents went on their way.”
  May 19, 1947: Lying of the first stone and ground braking for the construction of the hospital "Casa Sollievo." 
 Padre Pio: "Here will stand one of the largest centers for the cure of the human ailments."
  The construction work is progressing.
  Padre Pio in the car, visiting the construction site.
    May 5, 1956 grand opening of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Home for the relief of Suffering.
 
The New York Times: "One of the most beautiful and most modern hospitals in the world."
Padre Pio:
"Nothing is too good or too beautiful for the sick and suffering."
  Padre Pio celebrated Mass and made a speech on the day of the grand opening.
  visiting patients,                     testing the food,                      greeted by a nurse nun.
    The hospital today.
  See Padre Pio making a speech at the grand opening of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza

 

 

 

Mary Pyle

     Mary Pyle was born on April 17, 1888 at 215 West 45th Street in New York City, NY.
   She died on April 26, 1968 in San Giovanni Rotondo.
  On September 15, 1888 she received the Christian Baptism in the Church of the Covenant (merged with     the Brick Presbyterian Church in 1894), as Adelia McAlpin Pyle.
    This picture was taken in a Montessori classroom in New York. The individuals in the back of the classroom, from left to right, are Mario Montessori, Helen Parkhurst, Maria Montessori, and Adelia Mary Pyle
While in Europe in a study trip Mary Pyle met Maria Montessori, the educator who developed the Montessori  Method. She became her assistant and interpreter.
  Mary Pyle met Padre Pio on October 4, 1923. He told her: "My daughter, do not travel anymore. Stay here."  She built a house near the convent.
    Mary went daily to Padre Pio's Mass and received the communion. She became a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis.
  She played the harmonium, directed the choir in singing, ad organized children in the Christmas play at the convent.
  She was generous with the pilgrims, the poor, and the friars. Here she is with American soldiers visiting during WWII.
      She met Padre Pio and the other friars frequently. In the picture Padre Pio is giving advice to Mary Pyle.
    The Capuchin convent and the church of the the Holy Family in Pietrelcina. In the stained window, at the bottom Mary Pyle is shown donating it to Padre Pio. The construction was completed in 1951.
In Pietrelcina a young student Padre Pio, walking with archpriest Salvatore Pannullo by an area called "Gregaria", "heard a choir of angels singing, and bells in full peal" and prophesized that one day a convent and a church would be built, for the sons of St. Francis in that location.
 
Years later he told Mary Pyle to build it. "...and dedicate it to the Sacred Family". So she financed the church of the Holy Family, a convent and a seminary for the Capuchin students in Pietrelcina. During the building Mary stayed in Pietrelcina in the same place where Padre Pio had lived from 1910 to 1916.
    Mary Pyle with padre Pio's father and sister. In the second picture she is with count Hefner and the two nieces of Padre Pio.
  Padre Pio caring for his dying father at the home of Mary Pyle.    
 In December 1929, Mary had taken Mamma Peppa and “zì” Grazio in her home, to San Giovanni Rotondo so that they could be closer to their son. She cared for them until they died. Mamma Peppa died of pneumonia on January 3, 1930. "Zi Grazio" died on July 10, 1946.
  Mary Pyle, with Our Lady of Grace, greets Padre Pio at the entrance to Paradise.
Mary Pyle is the only spiritual child of Padre Pio featured in the mosaics of the golden Crypt of the new San Pio church.   

 

 

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