Who is he? What did he experience? How can he help us?

Biography of Padre Pio

Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione in 1887.  At age 7 he spoke of giving his life to God’s service.  He entered the Capuchin Franciscan Order at age 15.  While he was a seminarian and young priest, the Capuchins sent him home deathly ill numerous times.   On a September day like any other what happened would change his life forever.  Later he would write to his superior, “I saw before me a mysterious Person….His hands, feet and side were dripping with blood.  The sight of Him frightened me: what I felt at that moment was indescribable.  I thought I would die…the Lord intervened and strengthened my heart which was about to burst out of my chest.  The Person disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were pierced and dripping with blood.”  Padre Pio had just received the visible stigmata.  The year was 1918.  He welcomed his suffering  which was constant.  He was sent to a remote monastery at San Giovanni Rotundo “for a couple of weeks of mountain air”.  He never left.  He died at that same monastery on September 23 1968.   He was beatified in 1999 and canonized in 2002 by Pope Saint John Paul II.


The Suffering of Padre Pio

Life in the world brings elements of suffering to everyone.  Padre Pio experienced a great deal of physical and mental and spiritual suffering from his early years ‘til his death: stomach problems, typhoid fever, insomnia, migraines, anguish over persons separated by sin from Jesus, and, most remarkable of all, the stigmata, which are the five wounds of Jesus.  These wounds appeared on Padre Pio’s body, bringing him acute physical pain and profound humiliation.  They were the cause of several sanctions in his life, periods when Padre Pio was forbidden by Church authorities to celebrate Sacraments and to receive the public who sought him out.  (These were times when authorities struggled to make sense of him.)


The Stigmata

Many are drawn to Padre Pio from a curiosity about his bearing the stigmata.  They should understand these wounds of Padre Pio as a sign of his intimate love and ardent following of Christ, who, as it were, rewarded his faithful servant with the stigmata.  (The wounds themselves were never offensive to the sense of smell nor infectious; they perfectly closed and disappeared at his death.)


Padre Pio’s Help to Us

Padre Pio said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to dusk, and bore the wounds of Christ.  He suffered as Christ did, for us and for our salvation.  He did not merely accept suffering, he embraced it in his own person because he understood it to be the experience through which God’s life and love are poured out on the human race.  Accordingly, he accepted and comforted all who came to him with their troubles, he understood them, he promised them a share in God’s love, and he counseled them to “pray, hope and don’t worry.”  He does the same for us, now that he is with Christ forever.   


His Final Message

Padre Pio had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother and prayed the rosary constantly,  “Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today.”


“Pray, hope, and don’t worry”