20   Voting (video), letters, veranda, garden.






When padre Pio went to vote downtown, it was like a ticker parade. The car in the picture taking Padre Pio to the ballots, a FIAT millequattro, has been preserved by the owner. The  Italian "Carabinieri" provided escort.




 The video below is about Padre Pio meeting the faithful outside the convent. He he goes to vote downtown San Giovanni Rotondo, and you won't believe you eyes watching Padre Pio treated to a flowers and confetti parade.  The background music added is the chorus from Bach's cantata BWV 19 

Padre Pio going to vote downtown San Giovanni Rotondo for an Italian General Election   (01:24)



Letters, Mail




When Padre Pio met people, frequently he was given letters.  Padre Pio received quite a bit of mail from all over the world. Several friars worked on the correspondence. Padre Pio used to pass by the mailroom, give a blessing to the letters, and outline answers to those singled out for significance.  Nicola Cocomozzi, employee of the post office in San Giovanni Rotondo, brought for several years to Padre Pio the mail items that needed his signature. Padre Pio blessed Nicola's wedding, and also baptized his child.   An endorsed check ended up on eBay. Padre Pio writing a letter while sitting in fine balance on the tip of the chair. The official Vatican image for the proclamation of sainthood of Padre Pio shows him holding letters.  The last two pictures show the letters received in 1967 (last full year of life).



Elm tree, circular bench

elm tree with the circular bench has been there for several decades. Padre Pio too used to sit there talking to visitors in the early days. The actual tree has been replaced several times. Until Padre Pio was alive, the large bush that now prevents people from sitting and resting, was not there. "Innumerable souls took refuge under it's shadow before and after meeting Padre Pio."


Lancet arch


    The side door to the convent  from the garden has a characteristic lancet arch. The space in front of it was used to park carriages, and later cars. Some days Padre Pio went to the threshold to bless carriages or cars. The container of the holy water has been preserved.



Veranda, rattan chair


Padre Pio used to spend time on the veranda, sitting on a rattan chair. There he prayed, and had contacts with friars, friends, and faithful. Beniamino Valente holds the panettone



 In good weather Padre Pio spent about thirty minutes every late afternoon to relax with friars and friends in the backyard garden of the convent. When he was not able to do it anymore because of health reason he spent time on the enclosed veranda.





Padre Pio prays the breviary on the terrace, assisted by fra' Daniele. Breviary used by Padre Pio. Padre Pio went on the terrace for few breaths of fresh air, to meditate, and pray.




  In 1916 there was no construction on the side of the church.  Later a wing was added, with an arched porch on the outside, and a large room inside used for meetings and also to produce plays, with the intent to raise money for the construction of the hospital. The wing was removed to make room for the new church of St. Mary of the Graces. The production of the plays continued in the conference room of the new hospital "Casa Sollievo." The subjects of the plays were episodes from the Bible, or the lives of the saints. The plays were written and produced by Cleonice Morcaldi. The rehearsals were held at the home of Mary Pyle.
Several ladies helped in making the costumes, especially Elide Bellomo who was a seamstress by trade.  For each play Elide would make special trips to buy all the requisite props and make the necessary adaptations. Elide also did acting in several of the plays. Margerita Cassano also gave her help. They collected hefty sums. There were no set prices for seats, and each person what could afford. Two actors collected the contributions in a handkerchief and gave them to Padre Pio. Margherita reported: "He went upstairs to count the money, and while he countd he did a little multiplying , in the manner of the loaves and the fishes. There is no other explanation. Everybody saw how little money was taken."(Duc83, 110-4)

The photographer Elia Stelluto asks Padre Pio during a play if he can take a picture of him with the flash. The camera and flash are of huge size, seen on the lower right. The straw chair were Padre Pio's arms rest must have been in use for many years.
Padre Pio enjoyed watching the plays.





Last few months of life Padre Pio made the same routes, but in a wheelchair.


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