September 23rd: St. Padre Pio da Pietrelcina

(I have been a bit short on time today, so this post on our beloved friend and intercessor is a bit lacking. I hope to add to it as I have a moment.)

A few months before the canonization of Padre Pio I had been given the opportunity to stay at a Passionist monastery. The monastery kept a relic of one of the gloves that St. Pio wore to cover his stigmata. When given the opportunity to venerate the dark blood stained glove a strong fragrance was noted.

Named for St. Francis of Assisi, Francesco Forgione was born in 1887 to a farming family in the southern Italian town of Pietralcina. Devout even in childhood, Francesco was ordained to the priesthood in 1910 and took the name Pio of Pietralcina. Illness had forced him to pursue his studies at home, and he remained there until 1916, when he moved to the seminary at San Giovanni Rotondo. He lived there for the rest of his life.

His intense suffering began in 1918, as he was hearing confessions. Suddenly a figure appeared, mystically piercing his heart with a lance. The same vision occurred again about a month later, sending the priest into screams of anguish. The friars who rushed to him found him unconscious and bleeding profusely and discovered that he had received the stigmata, or visible wounds of the crucifixion. Doctors could find no reason for the marks.

Padre Pio received other mystical signs as well. It is said that the blood from his wounds smelled like flowers, and he was also reported to have had the gift of bilocation.

St. Pio was canonized on June 16, 2002 - 34 years after he called to meet our Lord. St. Padre Pio da Pietrelcina pray for us and our priests!

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