The most famous picture of Padre Pio, taken by Elia Stelluto.


Padre Pio blessing the faithful at the end of Mass.


Here is how Elia Stelluto described it:

"In the 40's there was the war going on, and I was a teen ager, and there were no regular schools, and I frequented daily the convent.

 I bought a small camera and took picture of Padre Pio; many of them. On day my masters, the photographer Federico Abresh, asked me if I would

take a picture of Padre Pio with the flash, at the moment when He turned to the assembly to give the final blessing. He said that he would give me

5000 lire (the equivalent of what I could make in a year). Padre Pio was known to dislike the light of the flash, and it was prohibited to use it.

I prepared myself during the Mass, and took the picture from about five feet. Padre Pio didn't like the flash. After the Mass I went to him in the sacristy to apologize.

And he was very sweet and made me promise to "take as many pictures as you want, but never use anymore that mousetrap"

(the bulky flash of the old days). I will never forget the moment that I took that picture of Padre Pio with the white carnations in the background.

By the way, I refused the 5000 lire, because I had made Padre Pio mad."




Elia Stelluto with Padre Pio



Elia Stelluto about to tell Padre Pio that he might have to use the flash.

They are in the hall of the convent, watching the Christmas play of the children, prepared by Mary Pyle and Cleonice Morcaldi.

Padre Pio's facial expression: "Oh no! Here he comes again."

(The huge flash lamp used by Elia Stelluto can be seen at the bottom right of the picture).






Elia Stelluto with his sister Mary.






Padre Pio had always a special attention for children


Padre Pio in the hallway with a young visitor.



Padre Pio puts his hand on the head of a child.


Padre Pio with a stupefied young friend.


A young visitor questioning Padre Pio if he is really Padre Pio.


Young visitors in pose with Padre Pio.


More young visitors in pose with Padre Pio.



Padre Pio with children who had just received the first Communion.   


Padre Pio visiting with children, teachers and parents at the elementary school for families of employees of Casa Sollievo.




"I wholeheartedly bless the work of catechizing children, the little flowers of Jesus."




Padre Pio with children who had just received the first Communion. 





Padre Pio with a child who had just received the first Communion. 




Padre Pio getting a kiss on the cheek from a child.



Padre Pio sitting on a bench with children at the Casa Sollievo hospital.


Padre Pio engaged in joyful conversation with the students of the Seraphic College.



Padre Pio taking compassionate care of a sick child in the old sacristy of the church.






Children's religious plays

At christmas time, at Padre Pio's birthday, and in other special occasions, children would perform special plays.

The plays were written mostly by Cleonice Morcaldi, who was a school teacher,

and were rehearsed at home of Mary Pile, who had a big house, a large heart and immense patience.


At the right side of the picture with Padre Pio, the hall at the friary.

(The hall was demolished in the 50's to make room for the new church).



Padre Pio at a children's play


Padre Pio enjoys the play






Padre Pio at the ballots

Padre Pio did not miss to cast his ballots on election days. He would be accompanied by other friars to the voting place

usually located at City Hall in San Giovanni Rotondo, and greeted by the major and the citizen.

Here are some pictures of Padre Pio voting. His presence did non pass unnoticed.



Padre Pio at the polling site in San Giovanni Rotondo.



Padre Pio casting his ballot.



Padre Pio returning the pen after voting.



Padre Pio leaving the ballot site after voting at the City Hall downtown San Giovanni Rotondo  




Padre Pio and Francesco Morcaldi, Mayor of San Giovanni Rotondo.



Francesco Morcaldi kissing the hand of Padre Pio










People gathered to receive Padre Pio's blessing. Padre Pio would come at the window above the arched entrance to the church.


Above the entrance to the church is the window were Padre appeared to bless the visitors, and waiving a large old fashioned hand kerchief.





Padre Pio looking at the faithful from the window.



Padre Pio at the window looking at the people.



Padre Pio blessing the faithful



Detail of Padre Pio blessing with holy water.


More blessings:




Padre Pio reading the formula of a blessing






Padre Pio blessing the faithful inside the church from the choir. The Crucifix is the one that gave the wounds.



Padre Pio wearing the stole for a blessing





Padre Pio wearing the surplice for a blessing.





Padre Pio in surplice ad stole for a formal blessing.



Padre Pio reading from the book of ritual formulas, while the friar holds the stoup containing holy water.



        Padre Pio using the aspersorium to sprinkle with holy water my new car (with Napoli tags).









Padre Pio's eating



Padre Pio frequently skipped meals and ate very little.

Padre Pio never ate breakfast.

The only meal he took in the refectory was the midday lunch.

Dr. Giorgio Pogany: No human being could live with that little amount of food that Padre Pio ate.

Padre Giovanni di Baggio: He ate perhaps a fifth of the amount eaten by a normal man.

Padre Dominic: He ate everything in minuscule quantities.

Padre Pio joined most always the friars for common meals, but he did not eat much.


Padre Pio about not needing much food:

 "Well, every morning I take the Communion. It is the Lord that does this, not me. It is the Lord who is working in me."


Asking for a cup of espresso coffee on Christmas day: "It's Christmas, and I need to celebrate."


To fra Modestino:"The greatest favor that the father superior could do to me, is to dispense me from eating."




Padre Pio sitting at the table in the refectory, has already finished eating.



Padre Pio in the dining room of the convent saying a prayer at mealtime.



The spot were Padre Pio used to sit has been preserved.




Next: Close encounters with Padre Pio: second inquisition (1950-1963)


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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.