There are many incredible stories of miraculous events that surround the life of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, better known as Padre Pio. He was an Italian priest who bore the stigmata, the wounds of Christ in his body. God used this holy man to perform many healings and miracles. Devotion to Padre Pio spread throughout the world in his life time and is still flourishing today.
Francesco Forgione was born in Italy on May 25, 1887 and from a young age he wanted to become a priest. When he was sixteen he entered a Capuchin Friary as a novice monk and became a friar in 1902. Francesco was ordained a priest in 1910 and became known as Padre (Father) Pio.
He received the wounds of Christ in his body
Padre Pio was a very holy and humble man who did not seek fame or fortune for his miraculous deeds but gave all the glory to God. The image of Jesus hanging on the cross was a very powerful symbol in his life and one day in 1918, when he was kneeling in front of a large crucifix he received the stigmata, the visible marks of the crucifixion on his body. Painful, open bleeding wounds appeared on his hands, his feet and his side. For the next fifty years he bore the stigmata which bled continuously and were usually accompanied by a sweet smell, similar to the perfume of flowers.
He was an answer to prayer
God used Padre Pio very powerfully to perform many miracles and healings. There are many testimonials documented in books and on the internet from people who, through his prayers or by touching something that belonged to him, have been cured of terminal illnesses, addictions and life-long disabilities – a deaf and dumb girl being able to speak and a child who was born without pupils in her eyes being able to see. The doctors could not explain many of these healings. There are also stories about Padre Pio appearing to people to give them help in their hour of need when he was not physically present with them but he somehow appeared to them in spirit. He was an answer to their prayer.
People flocked to see him
News of the many miraculous events that surrounded Padre Pio’s life spread quickly during his lifetime and pilgrims started flocking to the small friary to get a glimpse of the priest with the wounds of Christ or to be present at one of his Masses. Some got the chance to kiss his gloved hands and it was a great privilege to go to Confession with him. Padre Pio had the ability to read people’s hearts and he used the Confessional to draw them closer to Jesus. If he thought that someone had not confessed all their sins he would often tell them what they had done wrong and bring them to repentance. He was inspired by the Holy Spirit with just the right words of encouragement and advice for each person who came to him.
Padre Pio Prayer Groups
During the Second World War Pope Pius XII called for groups of people to get together to pray for peace and for the world. Padre Pio said, “Prayer is the best weapon we have, and the key to God’s heart” and invited his followers to start local prayer groups. These quickly spread around the world and many are still going strong today. Padre Pio Prayer Groups are a world-wide ministry and people are still testifying to receiving healings and miracles as a result of praying for the intercession of St Pio. Even after his death God is still answering the prayers of Padre Pio.
100,000 people attended his funeral
Unlike many saints, Padre Pio was well-known in his lifetime and when he died in 1968 at the age of eighty-one, his funeral was attended by 100,000 people. He was canonised (declared a Saint) on June 16, 2002, when over 500,000 of his followers gathered in Rome to witness Pope John Paul II proclaim him Saint Pio of Pietrelcina.
Words of Wisdom From St Pio:
“Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer”.
“You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips but with your heart”.
“The Lord our King will hold the door of His heart open for anyone who wants to enter for an audience at any time.” “I can refuse no one. How could I, when the Lord refuses me nothing?”
“A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.”