San Giovanni Rotondo. Transverberation. Stigmata (Wounds)


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.




There were no paved roads when Padre Pio moved to San Giovanni Rotondo.




Same picture colorized, in better resolution.



Padre Pio was assigned the cell #5.




Cell #5 preserved.



Cell #5 inside.



Padre Pio's sandals.






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.

Many saints experienced it. Some few names: Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Veronica Giuliani, Margherite Marie Alacoque, Gerard Majella,

Joseph of Cupertino, Francis de Sales, Philip Neri, Jane Francis de Chantal, Lutgarde, Charles of Sezze.




Transverberation of  St. Teresa of Avila



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 continued his regular activities with the boys at the Collegio Serafico until another mystical event happened few weeks later.

Padre Pio June 24, 1919





On September 20, 1918 Padre Pio received the Stigmata, The Wounds, while praying in the choir.


The stigmata are the bodily wounds on the hands, feet and side corresponding to those inflicted on Jesus at the Crucifixion.


Notable stigmatics were Francis of Assisi, Rita of Cascia, John of God, Gemma Galgani, Veronica Giuliani, Catherine of Siena.





St. Francis of Assisi had the stigmata. But Saint Francis was not a priest. He was a deacon.

St. Francis' side wound was on the right of the chest. Padre Pio's was on the left, were the heart is.




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.


Piana Romana is a hill 3 miles North-East of Pietrelcina were Padre Pio used to pray in the shade of a straw hut, built under an elm tree.


The elm tree preserved in Piana Romana


The small church containing the preserved elm.


The straw hut has become a church, and the stump of the elm is preserved inside the church.

There Padre Pio received the wounds.

"Jesus has been there. All has happened there."

The wounds disappeared but the pain never subsided.

Padre Pio considered always September 7, 1910, the date he received the wound.


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. 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."





The Crucifix from which Padre Pio received the Stigmata, is located in the choir loft of the small original church.




 Padre Pio received the stigmata on September 20, 1918, while praying after celebrating Mass. He was 31 years old.  

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."



 Over the years Padre Pio continued to pray on the same spot after celebrating Mass.


Father Joseph reports: "For nine days nobody knew anything about it.

Than, when the friar changing the linen on his bed found blood on the sheets,

he told the father guardian, an Padre Pio had to confess to exactly what had happened."



He used to cover the wounds with half gloves that would leave his fingers free. 



"You are asking if the wounds hurt. Do you think they are given for decoration?"



Many medical doctor and prelates inspected the wound by order of Padre Pio's superiors, the Holy Office, and the Pope.


Doctors Angelo Maria Merla, Luigi Romanelli, Amico Bignami, Giorgio Festa, Giuseppe Bastianelli, Agostino Gemelli; Archbishop Kenealy, Bishop Raffaello Carlo Rossi.



On May 1, 1919 dr. Angelo Maria Merla, was the first one, by disposition of  Padre Pietro da Ischitella, Father Guardian Superior of the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo.





Dr. Luigi Romanelli, head surgeon of the hospital in Barletta, examines Padre Pio 5 times between May 15,1919 and July 1920.

"The lesions on the hands are covered by a red brown membrane, without bleeding, no edema and no inflammation of the surrounding tissues. I am certain that these wounds are not superficial because, putting my thumb in the palm of the hand, and the index finger on the back, and applying pressure, I have the exact perception of a void existing."

"The etiology of the lesions of Padre Pio is not natural. The agent producing those lesione needs to be searched, make no mistakes, in the supernatural.

The fact in itself it's a phenomenon that cannot be explained with the sole human science."






Prof. Amico Bignami,  professor of medical pathology at the University of Rome, examines Padre Pio on July 12, 1919,

upon request by Padre Giuseppe da Persiceto, General Procurator of the Capuchin Order.

"The lesions on the hands, feet and side can be explained as unconsciously self produced by autosuggestion, and kept artificially with repeated applications of tincture of iodine."



Prof. Giorgio Festa,  examines Padre Pio on 3 occasions. The first on October 28, 1919, upon request by Padre Venanzio da Lysle, Superior General of the Capuchin Order.

The second from 9 to 15 of July 1920 together with prof. Luigi Romanelli. The third on September 28, 1925.




Reported by dr. Festa: A colleague of mine asks Padre Pio: "Why the lesions are here and not in other parts of the body?"

Answer: "Why they should have been in other parts of the body and not here?"



April 18, 1920. Padre Gemelli at the Convent. "Padre Pio I came for a clinical exam of your lesions."

"Do you have a written authorization?" "No" "Than I'm not authorized to show them to you."

Padre Gemelli wrote a very negative report on Padre Pio that become very influential on the hierarchy.

On  July 15 1959 Padre Pio in his room, told Padre Pellegrino that he had just confessed Padre Gemelli on his deathbed. Padre Gemelli died on that day.



When Padre Pio received the wounds in 1918, the Pope was Benedict XV. 

He had been elected on September 3, 1914. He died January 22, 1922.


Pope Benedict XV sent Archbishop Kenealy who examined Padre Pio on March 24-27, 1920:

'I am deeply convinced that we have a true saint here. The Lord has given him great gifts, and he is completely at ease.

If he knows how to suffer, he also knows how to laugh.'


Not completely satisfied, the pope sent archbishop Bonaventura Cerretti to examine Padre Pio.

He too was deeply impressed, and gave the pope a very positive evaluation.



On July 20, 1920 prof. Giuseppe Bastianelli, the personal physician of pope Benedict XV

was sent by him to examine the wounds of Padre Pio.

He gave a very favorable report on the case.




1921 investigation

Just revealed In the book 'Padre Pio Under Investigation: The Secret Vatican Files', by Francesco Castelli, Ignatius Press, 2011

 IN 1921, bishop of Volterra Raffaello Carlo Rossi, future cardinal, was sent as secret investigator by the Holy Office.
He started on June 14, 1921, and left after eight days. Padre Pio was 34 years old.

'Padre Pio is a good religious, exemplary, accomplished in the practice of the virtues.'

"In conversation, Padre Pio is very pleasant; with his brothers, he is serene, jovial, even humorous."

"The religious Community in which Padre Pio lives is a good Community and one that can be trusted."


"The very intense and pleasant fragrance, similar to the scent of the violet, I have smelled it."

"I have examined the monk's cell and could find nothing that would cause such a scent. There was only plain soap."


Padre Pio told Mons. Rossi under oath: "On September 20, 1918 I saw the Lord. I heard this voice:

'I unite you with my Passion.'

Once the vision disappeared, I came to, I returned to my senses, and I saw these signs here,

which were dripping blood. I didn't have anything before."


Mons Rossi:

"The stigmata are there: We are before a real fact -- it is impossible to deny."

"I am fully in favor of their authenticity, and, in fact, of their Divine origin."

"The future will reveal what today cannot be read in the life of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina."


Cardinal Silj visited Padre Pio several times in 1919-1921, each time expressing a very positive opinion.

The Pope died January 22, 1922



Angelo Brunatto with Padre Pio


All this was happening while the Spanish Fever was raging.

During the world pandemic of the of 1918-19, called Spanish Fever, when millions died worldwide, and at least 300 in town,

Padre Pio was in charge of the boys of the Seraphic College at the convent. He asked secretly the sister of a pharmacist in Foggia to supply him

 with four milligrams of carbolic acid for disinfecting syringes for injections, Valda pastilles, and other items. He got them.

He must have done a very good job if no deaths were reported in the convent and in the College at the time.


In many letter Padre Pio referred to Spanish fever with sentences like: "You won't be touched"  'She will not be affected"

 That family will be spared" "you will recover" "Stay calm, the epidemic will not get you", and so on.


Padre Pio was asked under obedience to have his wounds photographed.



"I have asked Jesus to take away this signs that cause me so much embarassement.

His answer: you will bear them for fifty years."


"My wounds are not for decoration."



Shoulder wound

"The wound that causes me the greatest pain s the shoulder wound. It is painful and sweet at the same time."

In 1947 Karol Wojtyla, asked Padre Pio which of his wounds caused the greatest suffering.

"It is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated."


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!"




Crown of thorns

"The crown of thorns is never taken away."

 "The thorns are around the whole head."

"I can never take off that diadem which is the crown of thorns that God has put on me. I wear it day and night."

"The head and the heart are the wound that hurt the most."




03: Padre Pio; life in S. Giovanni Rotondo, restrictions     


       Return to main page