Feast Day: September 23rd
Saint Padre Pio was born on May 25th, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy. His devotion to God came at a very early age. He could see guardian angels and often spoke with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Luckily, his parents were exceedingly supportive of his Catholic development and attended daily mass. All around him was Catholic support, for his community regularly celebrated Feast Days and other Catholic celebrations. Unfortunately, his family was extremely impoverished and Francesco soon fell behind in his studies. This prevented him from being a Friar, to help his Father traveled to America to find work and send money back so they could afford a private tutor. At 15, he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at Morcone. There he took the name Pio in honor of Pope Pius I. He became a priest in 1910, but was allowed to stay home due to his poor health, he had been sickly his whole life. On September 20th, Padre Pio was hearing confessions when he felt excruciating pain in his hands and feet. As he looked down he noticed the stigmata, the wounds of Christ. By 1919, word spread and people from all over the world came to examine his stigmata. The Vatican became suspicious and began to restrict his activities to minimize public interaction. A church investigation into his stigmata concluded that his condition was not faked and by 1934 he was allowed to perform public duties again. Pope Pius XI encouraged people to visit him and soon Padre Pio became internationally famous. He was known for his piety, charity, and the quality of his preaching. His most famous quote is: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”
He was summoned to military service during WWI but had to be dismissed due to his poor health.
Padre Pio used his popularity to open a hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo. It opened in 1956.
In 1947, Fr. Karol Wojtyla visited Padre Pio who prophetically told him he would rise to the highest post in the Church. Fr. Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in 1978.
He was said to levitate and be able to perform miracles
“The greater your sufferings, the greater God’s love for you.”
“You say you are anxious about the future, but don’t you know that the Lord is with you always and that our enemy has no power over one who has resolved to belong entirely to Jesus?”
“Jesus is with you even when you don’t feel His presence. He is never so close to you as He is during your spiritual battles. He is always there, close to you, encouraging you to fight your battle courageously. He is there to ward off the enemy’s blows so that you may not be hurt.”