Today, September 23rd, is the feast day to honor Saint Padre Pio. Born, Francesco Forgione, in 1887 in a small Italian village to a poor and devout Catholic family. He had a calling at a young age to live a holy life, and joined an order of Capuchin friars at the age of 19. Padre Pio struggled all his life with health difficulties which was a burden he bore with great humility and strength. While praying before a cross, he received the stigmata (the wounds of Christ) on September 20, 1918, the first priest ever to be so blessed. During his lifetime his stigmata and miraculous healings he performed were doubted–even by some in The Vatican. He was also said to have been gifted through God with the powers of bilocation, levitation, and healing by touch. One of the great stories of WWII included that German bombers flying a mission were forced to abandon their mission, when in their astonishment, saw Padre Pio flying in the clouds forcing them to turn around. Padre Pio was also known to have incredible sessions of offering the sacrament of confession where he knew if people were truthful and knew how to bring about a healing penance. It was Pope John Paul II that canonized Padre Pio on June 16th, 2002 in Rome.
There is a FREE saint Pio App for the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad that features the pictures and inspirational quotes from Padre Pio. mySaintPio App is available in four languages (English, French, Italian, and German). It also has a wonderful soundtrack of Gregorian chanting that can be turn on or off for your contemplative prayer. The prayers and sayings of Padre Pio are a true inspiration and are timeless in this modern age. Download this App and you too will be touched by this great saint.
I have recently watched a movie called Padre Pio: Miracle Man that was beautifully filmed, and it is a great biography of his holy and humble life devoted to Christ. It is a long movie at 210 minutes, but well worth watching. The acting and cinematography are first rate, as the filming takes place in the historic places around Italy that Padre Pio frequented. One of the moving scenes is where a young Karol Wojtyła makes a pilgrimage to see Padre Pio and they pray together an entire evening. A sceptic of Padre Pio, visited him nearing his death and to prove he was not a fraud, told him of the prediction that Karol Wojtyła would become a pope–indeed!!– Pope John Paul II who would make him a saint. The movie can be watched in Italian with subtitles, or can be viewed with dubbing in either English or Spanish. There is also a good booklet that offers more information about Saint Pio’s life and has discussion questions and commentary. This is a great movie that I highly recommend and will give you a deeper understanding of Saint Padre Pio.
Other Padre Pio Links: