San Giovanni Rotondo

1916  On September 4, 1916 Padre Pio went from Foggia for a supposedly brief stay in 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.
    During his lifetime Padre Pio lived in 11 convents. In San Giovanni Rotondo he had the last and longest stay.


The stigmata wounds

  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, Marguerite Marie Alacoque, Gerard Majella, Joseph of Cupertino, Francis de Sales, Philip Neri, Jane Francis de Chantal, Lutgarde, Charles of Sezze.
August 5, 1918 Padre Pio had the Transverberation of the heart.  He reported under obedience:
"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.
  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."
  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 to his superior that at least once per week he suffered the scourging.
This Padre Pio's undershirt, presenting the bloody signs of the scourging, is preserved in the Capuchin convent of the Holy family in Pietrelcina.

Padre Pio reported in writing:

"I suffer the scourging from the beginning to the end of the Mass, but more intensely after the Consecration."
  Padre Pio's undershirt stained with blood.
  The Way of the Cross
  This undershirt of Padre Pio is preserved in Plexiglas 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!")




After the wounds

1918 Padre Pio was alone in the choir when he received the wounds. He felt embarrassment, 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 everywhere.
  Padre Pio 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 the picture without gloves and other few pictures taken under obedience by another friar, Padre Placido Bux da San Marco in Lamis.
              Young Padre Pio.                   
             He started covering the hands with some sort of half gloves.
He removed them only during Mass, and put them back while still at the altar.
  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. Photograph 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
           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 newspapers took notice, and soon sent their journalists mingled through the visitors.

  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 courthouses 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.
  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."
  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 this 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).
  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."
  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.


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