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Padre Pio Devotions
The life and spirituality of St. Pio of Pietrelcina
The life and spirituality of St. Pio of Pietrelcina

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A Spiritual Reflection: We must ask ourselves what burdens us, what weighs us down, and keeps us from spiritually moving forward. The Cross is not so heavy that we cannot carry it or move under its weight. But if you are burdened by the weight of this world's glitter and gold, you will soon be immobilized by it. It will not only weigh you down, it will crush you. We bury ourselves in oversized houses, cars, boats, computers, TV's, and all manner of other things.The secular world's religion is one of getting, acquiring, buying and filling one's life with more and more things...Jesus on the Cross is a sign of contradiction, a sign that contradicts the message of the world that surrounds us. It is also a sign of liberation, of freedom. The Cross tells us that if we live life as Jesus did, if we live in his way, his truth and his life, we will find freedom that the world cannot give.

- Father Charles Irvin

Father Denys Pierre Auvray, a French priest of the Dominican Order, visited Padre Pio for the first time in 1956. Father Denys was able to talk with Padre Pio during the Capuchins’ recreation period, when Padre Pio and the others took a short break from their busy schedules. Since Father Denys did not speak Italian, he spoke to Padre Pio in Latin. Among all the brown-robed Capuchins who were gathered together that day, Father Denys stood out in his long white wool Dominican habit.

Father Denys was very happy that he had been able to talk to Padre Pio but he knew that it would be much better if he could converse with him in Italian rather than Latin. He also had a great desire to make his confession to Padre Pio. He decided to study the Italian language so that he could communicate freely with Padre Pio and receive spiritual direction from him.

Father Denys made many return trips to San Giovanni Rotondo. When he visited, he frequently lodged at the Villa Pia hotel, not far from the Capuchin monastery. One afternoon when he returned to his room at the Villa Pia, he noticed that it was pervaded by a strong perfume. It had happened on more than one occasion. He spoke to Luigi, one of the employees at the hotel, and voiced a complaint. “Someone is sneaking into my room when I am out and I am very concerned. I always keep my door locked when I am away but I think a woman has been unlocking my door and going inside. I have proof because there is a strong scent of perfume that is still lingering inside the room.”

In order to prove his point, he invited Luigi to step inside his room. Luigi entered Father Denys’ room and noticed the fragrance at once. He did his best to explain the phenomenon to Father Denys. “The fragrance in your room is not because a lady has been coming in while you are away,” Luigi said. “The fragrance is from Padre Pio.”

Luigi explained to Father Denys that sometimes Padre Pio made his presence known by a wonderful fragrance. As he was talking to Father Denys, the room suddenly became pervaded with the strong scent of incense. “You see,” said Luigi. “Now we notice the fragrance of incense. It just so happens that Padre Pio is at the church right now presiding at the Benediction service.” The penetrating fragrance of Padre Pio’s perfume stayed in Father Denys’ room for the next fifteen days.

Father Denys was speaking with Padre Pio on one occasion when he made a comment about the weather. “What is it about San Giovanni Rotondo? It certainly rains alot. It rains almost constantly!” Father Denys remarked. “Yes, it does rain a lot here,” Padre Pio replied. “But here it also rains the Asian flu.” Evidently Padre Pio could sense what was about to happen, because shortly after he spoke the words, Father Denys came down with the Asian flu.

At the monastery of Our Lady of Grace, there were generally always long lines of people waiting to make their confession to Padre Pio. Father Denys was impressed by the fact that Padre Pio met thousands of people in his lifetime, but he saw each person as an individual. He marveled at Padre Pio’s gifts of discernment and reading of hearts.

During Father Denys’ visits to San Giovanni Rotondo, he met many of the people who collaborated with Padre Pio in his apostolic endeavors. Dr. Sanguinetti was one of the individuals who worked tirelessly for Padre Pio. Emilia Sanguinetti, the doctor’s wife, told Father Denys that she made it a practice to go to confession to Padre Pio once each week.

On one occasion when Emilia Sanguinetti was making her confession, she noticed that Padre Pio’s face was swollen. There was also a small cut on his face. She asked him about it and he told her that the injury occurred when he was reciting the exorcism prayers over a woman who was possessed. At that moment, the devil struck out at him. Padre Pio told Emilia that if he had received the blow just a millimeter lower, it would have taken out his eye.

Father Denys heard much talk about Padre Pio’s love for the angels. Every day at the monastery, Father Denys observed that Padre Pio prayed to St. Michael the Archangel. One day, he asked Padre Pio, “Are the angels really present to you? Are they with you when you retire for the night and do they ever help you get to sleep?” “Yes, they are with me,” Padre Pio replied. “They help me get to sleep unless they are coming to deliver a message from my spiritual children. In that case, they come to wake me up.”

On one occasion, Father Denys sent his guardian angel to Padre Pio. It happened when he was preaching a retreat to a religious order of nuns in the seaside town of Biarritz, in the southwest part of France. During the retreat, he suddenly began to feel very ill. Worried that he might not be able to continue with the program,

Father Denys prayed with urgency to his guardian angel. “Dear guardian angel,” he prayed, “Please take a message to Padre Pio for me. Tell him that I am very sick and I need his prayers so that I can recover. Otherwise, I do not see how I can complete this retreat.” To Father Denys’ great relief, he soon began to feel better and he managed to finish all the sermons in the retreat.

Later, Father Denys wrote a letter to one of the Capuchins at Our Lady of Grace monastery. He explained that he had sent his guardian angel to Padre Pio and he wanted to know if Padre Pio had received the message. The Capuchin wrote back to Father Denys and told him that he had spoken to Padre Pio about the matter. Padre Pio said that Father Denys’ guardian angel had paid him a visit. Padre Pio hoped that Father Denys was feeling better and he had been praying for him ever since he had received the angelic message regarding his illness.

From time to time, Father Denys was troubled by health issues. He told Padre Pio that if the state of his health improved, he wanted to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He had always had a desire to go there. “If I become stronger physically, I would like to go on pilgrimage in thanksgiving to God for the blessing of good health,” Father Denys said. “Of course, Divine Providence would have to assist me, because the expenses of such a trip would be enormous, far more than I would be able to afford.” Padre Pio listened to Father Denys but made no comment.

One day, in the hotel dining room, Father Denys met a couple from Lebanon, Mr. and Mrs. DeChabert and was happy that he could converse with them in French. They told Father Denys that they had come to San Giovanni Rotondo in order to ask Padre Pio for his prayers. Their son had died tragically in an accident in India just three months previously.

Father Denys felt very sorry for the couple. He knew that it was almost impossible for the pilgrims to speak to Padre Pio privately. There were visitors at the monastery from all parts of the world and the Capuchins did their best to shield Padre Pio from the crowds. Because Father Denys was a priest, he had easier access to Padre Pio. He decided to speak to Padre Pio and see if he could arrange for Mr. and Mrs. DeChabert to meet him.

Father Denys and Mr. and Mrs. DeChabert continued to converse on various subjects. Since the couple lived in Lebanon, Father Denys told them that he had always been interested in the Holy Land. He asked them if they had ever traveled there and they replied that they had. “I am particularly interested in Jerusalem,” Father Denys said. “Have you ever been there?” he asked the couple. “Of course we have,” Mr. DeChabert replied. “It is only an hour plane ride from where we live in Beirut. And you, have you ever been to the Holy Land?” Mr. DeChabert asked. “No, I have not,” Father Denys replied. “I have always wanted to go there but my health is not the best and besides, I would never be able to afford it.” “It wouldn’t be expensive at all,” Mr. DeChabert said. “It would be free. I am going to give you a first-class ticket. I am the Director of Public Transportation in Lebanon.”

Father Denys was astonished. He thought about his lifelong desire to visit the Holy Land and he remembered the time he had spoken to Padre Pio about it. He had the feeling that Padre Pio had something to do with the unexpected gift.

Father Denys went to the monastery and told Padre Pio about Mr. and Mrs. DeChabert. “The couple’s son has recently died,” Father Denys said. “They have come here to ask you for your prayers,” he added. “All right,” Padre Pio answered. “I will be happy to pray for their son.” “But they have a great desire to meet you,” Father Denys said. “It will not be necessary,” Padre Pio replied. “But it is necessary,” Father Denys answered. “They need to see you.”

That afternoon, Padre Pio presided at the Benediction service, just like he did every day. After Benediction, Father Denys told Mr. and Mrs. DeChabert to follow him into the sacristy. Padre Pio would be there shortly. When Padre Pio came into the sacristy, Father Denys introduced him to the couple and said, “Padre Pio, this is the couple I was telling you about. Their son died three months ago.”

Mr. DeChabert had a photograph of his son, and he gave it to Padre Pio. Padre Pio held the photo in his hand and looked at it in silence. Finally, he blessed it. Mr. and Mrs. DeChabert felt greatly consoled.

In 1963, Father Denys traveled to the Holy Land for a three-week stay. Later, he visited Mr. and Mrs. DeChabert in Beirut, Lebanon. Before the trip to the DeChaberts’ homeland, Father Denys spoke to Padre Pio about it. “In that country, you will suffer,” Padre Pio said. Father Denys was not sure what he meant, but he was soon to find out. The widespread poverty in Lebanon was very painful for Father Denys to witness. To see the privation and the hardship of so many people was heartbreaking.

To Father Denys, Padre Pio was a model of holiness for all people, both priests and laity. Whenever Padre Pio spoke about God, Father Denys always had the sense that he was speaking about Someone that he had intimate contact with, Someone that he knew very well. When Father Denys looked back on the many times he was able to visit Padre Pio through the years, he knew how truly fortunate he was. To Father Denys, every encounter with Padre Pio had been a time of grace.

From: Pray, Hope and Don't Worry: True Stories of Padre Pio
Book II (chapter 26) by Diane Allen

"Padre Pio understood modern man and he loved him very much. He was demanding and exacting because he was convinced that we cannot be Christians by halves. Man today lives in a world of materialism and hedonism. Padre Pio knew all that. In his prayer, he prayed to God for the conversion of humanity. He made the gospel teaching of love for God and for our neighbor, the foundation of his life"

- Father Domenico Serini

Seven Remarkable Testimonies

I have a great devotion to Padre Pio. It began in 2002 when I visited Italy. In the past six years, my family has had many problems. My granddaughter was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. My daughter was also diagnosed with cancer. My stepdaughter had a hole in her heart and was in very serious condition. Also, my son suffered a heart attack. To each one of them I gave either a Padre Pio medal or a Padre Pio statue and told them to pray to Padre Pio and ask for his help. I thank God and Padre Pio that they are all doing well now.

In January 2008, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I am seventy-eight years old and have other serious health problems. I have a pacemaker and defibulator and also a bad heart. I needed surgery but my doctor was not optimistic about my chances of surviving an operation.

I gave my doctor a medal of Padre Pio and told him that I had complete confidence that Padre Pio would see me through. I was operated on at Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City and my left lung was removed. I developed an infection after the surgery and spent three months in the hospital. After that I was transferred to Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, New York.

One day, one of the nurses' aides came in my room and told me that she had a dream about me. "I have never had a dream about one of my patients before," she said. I asked her about the dream. She looked at the Padre Pio statue that I had in my room and pointed at it. "I dreamed that he was carrying you," she said.

I am recovering slowly from the surgery. I continue my devotion to Padre Pio and the Blessed Mother and urge everyone to pray the Rosary.
- John Giumarra ✞

There was a woman (name withheld) who, due to deeply rooted psychological problems, had not been out of her house for twenty-five years. In all of those years, she had not seen her brother. Her brother contacted the relatives and learned the particulars of his sister’s problems. One night, the woman had a dream about a saintly looking priest who smiled at her. Also, one afternoon she noticed the fragrance of roses in her home.

One day, the homebound woman summoned up the necessary courage and was able to leave the house and go to Mass. Not long after that, she found a magazine about Padre Pio and purchased it. She recognized him as the priest she had seen in her dream. Finally, her dear brother visited her. He told her that he had been praying to Padre Pio so that she would regain her confidence. ✞

On one occasion, Padre Pio was in the choir loft of the church making his thanksgiving after Mass. Brother Costantino approached him and told him that there was a man downstairs in the church who wanted to make his confession. He asked Padre Pio if it would be all right if he brought the man up to the choir loft. Padre Pio made no reply. Brother Costantino waited for a time and then finally went back downstairs.

A few moments later, Brother Costantino returned to the choir loft. "Padre Pio," he said, "The man who wants to make his confession to you is still downstairs. He cannot wait any longer. He is a chauffeur and there are people calling for him to drive them to their destinations." "That man has made the Lord wait for twenty-five years," Padre Pio replied. "He can wait five more minutes for me to finish my prayers!"

Brother Costantino went downstairs for a second time. The man was still standing in the corridor. "I have to leave now," the man said impatiently. "I cannot wait a minute longer. Besides, I am afraid to make my confession to Padre Pio." "Why are you afraid?" Brother Costantino asked. "I am afraid because it has been twenty-five years since my last confession." ✞

Pio Maria Vincentelli entered the Capuchin novitiate on September 4, 1945. He was 23 years old. He had previously spoken to Padre Pio at length about his desire to become a Capuchin priest and Padre Pio encouraged him to pursue his vocation. However, his doctor advised him against it because his health was so poor. A well-respected doctor in Sienna told Pio Maria in 1940 that he would not live to see the end of the year.

Pio Maria had only been in the Capuchin novitiate for two months when he was diagnosed with nephritis, a disease of the kidneys. His superiors decided that the best course would be to send him back to his home.

Pio Maria pleaded with his superiors not to dismiss him. He had to overcome countless obstacles in order to finally be accepted into the novitiate and he could not bear the idea of leaving. He said to his Capuchin novice master, “I would rather die than go back to the world.”

Pio Maria remembered that Padre Pio once told him that none of his health problems would ever be able to stand in the way of his vocation to the priesthood.

Pio Maria recovered from the nephritis with almost no medical intervention. His doctors were astonished at the improvement in his health. He made his solemn profession on January 15, 1950 and on April 3, 1954 he was ordained. ✞

Nina Villani lived seven miles from the monastery of Our Lady of Grace. Once or twice a week, it was her habit to attend Padre Pio’s 5:00 a.m. Mass. She and her two children got up in the middle of the night and walked the seven miles from her home to the monastery. They traveled through the hilly area on a rough and stony dirt path, a goat track. Even the cold of winter could not discourage Nina from attending Padre Pio’s Mass.

Nina knew that the journey was dangerous. Wild and rabid dogs were common in the area. Even wolves were known to lurk about and were sometimes spotted by the local people. When the news broke that a man had been robbed and murdered on the same road that she and her children walked on the way to the monastery, Nina became alarmed. She spoke to Padre Pio about it and told him her fears. She asked him for advice. “Continue to come to Mass just like you have always done,” Padre Pio said. “You will be protected.”

From that time forward, whenever Nina started out for the monastery, she would either see someone walking ahead of her on the road, dispelling all of her fears, or she would see a small animal on the path just ahead of her, almost as if leading the way. Because Nina continued to walk to Padre Pio’s early morning Mass, other mothers with their children then had the courage to do the same. None of the women were ever harmed.

While some might have disapproved of Nina for taking her two young children out in the dark of night on such a long journey, there is proof indeed that the children were blessed because of it. Her son Peter became a missionary priest of the Order of the Verona Fathers and her daughter became a nun. ✞

I have been blessed by praying Padre Pio’s prayers, especially the novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I prayed to Padre Pio and asked him to save my marriage for I am currently in the process of a divorce.

On June 13, 2008, we went to court regarding the divorce. I prayed to Padre Pio with great devotion for his intercession. Four days later, my husband told me that he no longer hated me and that he wanted to talk to me about our situation. I prayed to Padre Pio to guide my husband and send him a sign regarding what he should do with his life. My husband told me that he had a dream in which he and I and our son were all together. Glory be to God! I know that Padre Pio has heard me and prayed for me to the Lord.
– Name withheld ✞

Margaret Cunningham was frail from the time she was born. Her fatigue and weakness was a great concern to her mother. Various doctors were consulted but they could never determine the cause of her problem. The doctors believed that Margaret’s condition would probably improve with time.

When Margaret was eleven years old, she was examined by the school doctor. He suspected that Margaret had a problem with her heart and advised her mother to take her to a heart specialist. When the heart specialist’s report came back, it was discovered that Margaret had a hole in her heart and that the valves to her heart were smaller than what was normal. She was scheduled for an operation, but was so weak that the doctors had to postpone it. They put her on medication and waited for her strength to build up so that they could proceed with the surgery.

Margaret told her mother that she wanted to write a letter to Padre Pio and request his prayers. After she sent the letter, it wasn’t long before she received a reply in the mail. The letter said that Padre Pio was praying for her. It was a great consolation for Margaret and her family to know that she was included in Padre Pio’s daily prayers.

When Margaret returned to the doctor, x-rays were taken once again. The doctor came out and said to Margaret’s mother, “What have you done to your daughter?” “What do you mean?” her mother replied. “I have not done anything to her.” The doctor showed her the two x-rays. The x-ray which had been taken at the time of her diagnosis, showed a large hole in the area of her heart. The x-ray which had just been taken, showed that the hole was almost closed. Margaret did not have to have surgery and her health continued to improve from that day forward.

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A Spiritual Reflection: "I will try to find a new way to Heaven, quite short and direct. We live in an age of inventions. We need no longer climb laboriously up flights of stairs; in well-to-do houses there are lifts. And I was determined to find a lift to carry me to Jesus, for I was far too small to climb the steep stairs of perfection. So I sought in Holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words, "Whoever is a little one, let him come to me." It is your arms, O Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to Heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up. I must stay little and become less and less."

- St. Therese of Lisieux

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O Jesus, I see this new year as a blank page that your Father is giving me, upon which he will write day by day what he has arranged for me in his divine pleasure. With full confidence I am writing at the top of the page from now on, “Lord, do with me what you will.” And at the bottom I have already put my “amen” to every disposition of your divine will. Yes, O Lord, I say “yes” to all the joys, to all the sorrows, to all the graces, to all the hardships that you have prepared for me and which you will be revealing to me day by day. Let my “amen” be the Paschal amen, always followed by alleluia, uttered with all my heart.

- Sister Carmela of the Holy Ghost

Padre Pio: Christmas Testimonies

Maria Pompilio, who was one of Padre Pio’s faithful spiritual daughters, worked as a school teacher in San Giovanni Rotondo. She attended Padre Pio’s Mass every morning and went to confession to him regularly.

Once, on Christmas Eve, Padre Pio had gone to the sacristy of the church about 8:00 p.m. to hear the men’s confessions. It happened to be a very cold night. Because there was no heating in the monastery at that time, a stove had been placed in the sacristy to take the chill off.

While Padre Pio was hearing the men’s confessions, Maria Pompilio and several other women stayed in the church to pray. After the confessions were over, Maria and her companions went into the sacristy to greet Padre Pio and to kiss his hand. Maria noticed that Padre Pio’s hand was ice cold. Padre Pio greeted his spiritual daughters and said to them, “May the Child Jesus make you feel his mercy and his tender love.” “It is so cold tonight, Padre Pio,” one of his spiritual daughters said. “Please speak to us for a while. Tell us more about the Infant Jesus and fill us with the warmth of his love.”

Padre Pio then took his spiritual daughters to the visitors’ room in the monastery. There was a long table in the room with enough chairs for everyone to be seated comfortably. Padre Pio spoke about the Christmas Mysteries and said, “Daughters, let us meditate on the words from the gospel of John. John, the beloved disciple said, And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Tears filled Padre Pio’s eyes as he quoted the words from scripture. He paused for a moment to dry his eyes and then continued.

He reflected on the privations of Jesus’ birth and infancy. He spoke of how Jesus was born in the winter, the coldest season of the year, in the depth of the night. There among the animals, he was laid in the manger. Mary and Joseph attended him lovingly while the angels in heaven rejoiced.

Suddenly Padre Pio closed his eyes and became silent. “Padre Pio has fallen asleep,” one of the women whispered. “He heard confessions all day today and he is exhausted. Let’s be very quiet and use the time to pray until he wakes up.” “I do not think he is asleep,” one of the other women said. “This is Christmas Eve. I believe that Padre Pio is in deep communion with Jesus at this very moment. It is truly a privilege for us to be sitting here with him.”

After about thirty minutes, Padre Pio opened his eyes. One of his spiritual daughters then said to him, “Padre Pio, you were silent for a long time. Since it is Christmas Eve, we were wondering if you were with the Baby Jesus?” Padre Pio made no reply. Another said, “Padre Pio, please tell us what you experienced as you sat with your eyes closed.” “If you promise not to say a word about it until after my death, I will tell you,” Padre Pio replied. “We give you our word that we will tell no one,” the women said in unison.

Padre Pio then said to the women, “The Lord permitted me to wish a happy Christmas to my brother Michael who is in America and also to my sister, Sister Pia, in her convent in Rome. Then Jesus showed me all of my spiritual children who have passed on to eternal life and I saw their dwelling places in heaven.” The women were deeply inspired by his words.

Before long, it was time for Padre Pio to prepare for the celebration of the Christmas Midnight Mass. Softly glowing candles illuminated the little 16th century church of Our Lady of Grace. When the Mass began, Padre Pio, who held a small statue of the baby Jesus in his arms, processed solemnly down the aisle toward the Christmas crib. Together with the choir, the Capuchins and the entire congregation sang Christmas carols and hymns of praise to God. All hearts seemed to glow with the fire of God’s love.

After the midnight Mass, before retiring to his cell, Padre Pio spoke to his spiritual daughters for the last time that evening and said, “Tonight heaven opened and many graces came down into your souls.” Truly, they had all been blessed. ✞

Katharina Tangari, who lived in Naples, Italy, was one of Padre Pio’s spiritual daughters. One evening, Katharina’s neighbor came over to see her. With tears in her eyes, she told Katharina that she was very worried about her daughter, Claretta. Claretta, who was almost a year old, was having trouble walking and had developed a very noticeable limp.

She took Claretta to one doctor after another and finally, she went to see a specialist in Bologna. It was discovered that Claretta had a congenital defect in her leg. She was put in a plaster cast that went up to her chest. Her mother had to take her to Bologna every six months and have the cast changed. In December of 1951, the third cast was put on her leg. Unfortunately, after a thorough examination, the orthopedic specialist said that he saw no sign of improvement.
The day before Christmas, Katharina made a trip from her home in Naples to San Giovanni Rotondo. Claretta’s mother asked her to speak to Padre Pio about her daughter’s condition and to request his prayers. Katharina was very happy to do so.

After the Mass, Katharina stood near the sacristy, hoping to say a word to Padre Pio. As he approached the sacristy, Katharina wished him a Merry Christmas. Padre Pio greeted her in a friendly way. Katharina was so excited by the short exchange that she completely forgot to mention Claretta. Just before Padre Pio entered the sacristy, he paused momentarily. Katharina suddenly remembered Claretta and quickly said, “Padre Pio, Claretta’s leg!” Padre Pio smiled at Katharina and said, “On St. Joseph’s Day!”

On the morning of March 18, when Claretta woke up, it was discovered that her plaster cast had fallen off and had broken into many pieces. Her mother took her to Bologna to get a new cast. On March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, x-rays showed that Claretta’s leg was finally in the process of healing. She no longer needed to wear a cast.

Claretta’s leg was still weak. The specialist in Bologna advised gentle exercise and walking to strengthen her leg. Claretta’s mother was afraid to follow the doctor’s recommendations. She didn’t want Claretta to fall down or to hurt herself. She ignored the doctor’s advice and instead carried Claretta in her arms or took her about in a wheelchair. Her fears became almost overwhelming.

During Advent of 1952, Katharina made another trip to San Giovanni Rotondo. While making her confession to Padre Pio, she told him how fearful Claretta’s mother had become and she asked for his prayers. Padre Pio gave Katharina a beautiful holy card of the Infant Jesus of Prague. He told Katharina that Christmas was an especially good time to ask for graces from the Lord. “Entrust everything to the Child Jesus,” Padre Pio said to Katharina.

Claretta’s mother attended Mass in Naples on Christmas Eve. When she returned to her home, little Claretta began walking on her own accord. She continued to steadily improve from that time forward. ✞

There was a boy who had a great desire for an electric train. For months he had asked his parents to get him a train. Shortly after Christmas, when it was close to the feast of Epiphany, the boy said a heartfelt prayer to Padre Pio, “Padre Pio, if you help me get an electric train, I will bring you a box of candy when I come to visit you.”

The boy’s father was a policeman. On the feast of the Epiphany, it was the custom at the time to give each of the police officers in the community a gift. One of the gifts that the boy’s father received was an electric train and quite naturally, he gave it to his son. Some time later the boy’s aunt took him to San Giovanni Rotondo. When Padre Pio saw the boy, he said, “Well, did you bring me the candy?” ✞

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Padre Pio understood very well the centrality of the gift of piety in the spiritual life of the Christian and priest. His religious name, Pio or Pius, is a telling sign. It is said that one's name is often a harbinger and map of life. It certainly was with Padre Pio. He was pious to the last detail and until the last moment of his life on earth.

Padre Pio prayed, adored, and contemplated with a profound sentiment of sincere piety. He transformed his whole life into an offering and sacrificial gift that began from love of the Father and extended to loving reverence of his neighbor. His piety inspired his hospital, the Home for the Relief of Suffering; his piety inspired his Prayer Groups. "Practice piety. . piety is useful for everything. It holds promises for the present and future life." (1 Timothy 4:8). These words of St. Paul to Timothy, Padre Pio made his own. We should do the same.

- Father Antonio Del Gaudio

Padre Pio: The Confessor of Europe

Padre Pio has often been called, "The confessor of Europe." In his lifetime, he reconciled innumerable souls back to God through the confessional. He was always in great demand as a confessor. People were willing to wait many days and brave any inconvenience in order to make their confession to him.

In the early days, before there were accommodations for the pilgrims, the men who waited to make their confession to Padre Pio would sometimes sleep at night in the fields near the monastery. Some would even pitch tents in the open areas. When the sun rose, they would resume their place in the confessional line.

For years, Padre Pio spent the greater part of each day in the confessional. It was for this reason that he was often spoken of as a “martyr of the confessional.” Pope Pius XII referred to Padre Pio as the “confessor of Europe.” Once, Archbishop Andrea Cesarano of Manfredonia and Pope Pius XII were talking together about Padre Pio. “What does Padre Pio do?” the pope asked. “Your Holiness,” Archbishop Cesarano replied, “He takes away the sins of the world.”

The Lord endowed Padre Pio with extraordinary spiritual charisms for his ministry in the confessional. He was given the gift of reading hearts and of infused knowledge. These gifts were present even in the early days of his priesthood. In 1921, Padre Pio wrote a letter to Father Agostino and explained that the knowledge he possessed “came down from above,” indicating that it was given to him by God.

To Cleonice Morcaldi, the daughter of the mayor of San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio said, “I see you inside and out, just like you see yourself in a mirror.”

During World War II, one American soldier shared that he had a lifetransforming encounter with Padre Pio. When he visited the monastery, he was told that he would not be able to make his confession to Padre Pio because he didn’t speak Italian. Instead, he was directed to the confessional of a priest who was hearing confessions in English that day. As the soldier passed through the sacristy, he saw Padre Pio for the first time. Padre Pio stared at the young American with deep concentration. During those moments, the soldier became aware that his mind was being healed. He could feel a definite change in his thought patterns, a complete shift in his usual way of thinking.

Father Nello Castello of Padua, Italy, went to confession to Padre Pio on numerous occasions. Father Castello described confession to Padre Pio as both “jolting and enlightening.” He said, “Padre Pio gave me counsel that reflected the whole range of my existence, past and future. At times he would surprise me with suggestions unconnected with the sins I confessed. But later, events made it clear that his counsels had been prophetic. Padre Pio knew my problems better than I did.”

One woman who made her confession to Padre Pio was plagued with a multitude of problems. Padre Pio said to her, “You must not be anxious or worried about anything because I am here with you.” To another who was undergoing severe trials he said, “Unite yourself to my prayers.”

To the penitents, Padre Pio was a confidant, a friend, a counselor and above all a father. People could feel his concern and his loving care. He said to Monsignor Giancarlo Setti, whom he asked to oversee the Padre Pio prayer groups worldwide, “Monsignor, you look after the prayer groups and I will look after your soul.”

Many people testified that their encounter with Padre Pio in the confessional brought a profound sense of peace and healing to their minds and hearts. To a woman who felt intense sorrow because of the death of her child, Padre Pio said, “I want you to know that your child has gone to a place where there is no more pain, no more suffering. That should be a great consolation to you.” And indeed, his words were truly a great consolation to the woman.

Father Vincenzo of Casacalenda wrote, "Padre Pio was always at our disposal. Even when we could not get near him because of the crowds, it was enough for us to turn our thoughts to him. We felt him standing by us, not only protectively but so many times also tangibly, through the prodigious perfume of sanctity which we were conscious of. He always stood by us both materially and spiritually. He accepted all our requests, met all our anxieties, listened to all our sins. He took upon himself all our miseries as if they were his own, to such an extent that he sometimes lamented, “I can’t go on any more.” This humble confession of the heaviness of his cross, moves and comforts us at the same time. His was an endless love."

Father Vincenzo also made mention of Padre Pio’s gift of reading hearts. He said, "I was afraid of Padre Pio’s gaze - a gaze which searched you. And yet, it was not a hard gaze; no, it was a sweet one. When he looked at you, he stripped you. If Padre Pio looked at you and smiled, you felt you had received a blessing. If he did not look at you, you were afraid."

In the confessional, people frequently asked Padre Pio for his counsel regarding family situations, vocational choices, business concerns, health issues, and even advice on farming matters. He was glad if he could help people on any level, but above all else, his desire was to help people on a spiritual level. He wanted people to realize their need for God.

Professor Michael Melillo, one of Padre Pio’s spiritual sons, once said to Padre Pio, “Father, please give me some spiritual advice that I can use for my whole life.” Padre Pio answered him and said, “You have been born to know, to love and to serve God, and to be happy with him eternally in heaven.”

Antonio Monari had a remarkable experience the first time he entered Padre Pio’s confessional. Antonio stated, "I was expecting to see a saint but I never imagined I would experience what I did. I told Padre Pio the many troubles of my family and myself and he listened paternally. I asked him for a grace for which I had waited many years for in vain. “Men can do nothing my son,” Padre Pio said and he pointed upward. “Only God who is above can help us. I will pray for you,” he added. He then gave me his blessing. I cannot describe to you the feeling of profound emotion I felt, so much so that when I got up, I lost my balance. He touched me affectionately on the right side of my head. My right ear, in which I was completely deaf, suddenly opened and I have been able to hear perfectly ever since."

As a confessor, Padre Pio wanted people to understand the seriousness of sin. “We have a greater fear of mortal sin than of fire,” Padre Pio once said. On another occasion he said, “Beware of sin as of a poisonous viper.” When penitents put questions to him regarding moral issues, his answers left no doubt as to the difference between right and wrong and the proper course to follow.

One man said, “Padre Pio’s words were firm, candid and pure.” A man once confessed to him that he had thoughts against chastity. “How many times have you had those thoughts?” Padre Pio asked. “Six or seven times,” the man replied. “But seven is not the same as six because it means one more deadly sin,” Padre Pio answered.

Padre Pio had a great fear of offending God and was ready to go to any length to avoid doing so. He had no illusions about human nature. He said, “As long as there remains a drop of blood in our bodies, there will always be a struggle between right and wrong.” Looking back on his life, he once said, “Temptations that concern my secular life are those that most upset me . . . They bring on a cold sweat and make me tremble . . . In those moments, all I can do is cry.”

In 1915, Padre Pio wrote to Father Agostino, "The thought of going astray and . . . offending God fills me with terror. It paralyzes my limbs, and both body and soul feel as if they are being squeezed in a powerful vise. My bones feel as if they are being dislocated . . . crushed and ground up."

The general opinion was that making one’s confession to Padre Pio was of profound spiritual benefit. Nevertheless, to confess to Padre Pio was not an easy task for most. As one person described it, “To go to confession to Padre Pio was to allow him to look right inside your soul.”

As a confessor, he was strict and demanding. He had great moral strength in directing souls and he did not hesitate to tell the penitents what they needed to do in order to change their lives. He often told people what they did not want to hear. He had a strong character and was afraid of no one. Many people wanted to make their confession to him but were held back by their fear. One man stated, “It is less frightening to take a difficult examination at the university than to make one’s confession to Padre Pio.”

Mr. Livio Dimatteo met Padre Pio in 1959. On one occasion, Livio had been undergoing a strong temptation which he was convinced was, “from the devil.” Because of it, he was afraid to make his confession to Padre Pio. When he finally gathered up the courage and entered Padre Pio’s confessional, Padre Pio placed his hand, much harder than usual, on Livio’s head. Livio was certain that Padre Pio knew all about the temptation and was assisting him through his prayers.
In the confessional, Padre Pio did not want people to make excuses for their sins and omissions.

 A woman from Gioia del Colle, Italy visited Padre Pio on one occasion. During her confession, she said that she missed Mass the previous Sunday because of the rain. “Yes, but when you left to come to San Giovanni Rotondo, it was raining too,” Padre Pio replied. “You must never miss Mass again on Sunday unless illness prevents you from attending,” he added.

As time passed, Padre Pio’s fame as a confessor drew immense crowds to the monastery of Our Lady of Grace. As the crowds grew larger, Padre Pio, by necessity, became more inaccessible to the pilgrims. Outside of the confessional, it was almost impossible for a person to be able to have a conversation with him. Once, one of his spiritual daughters complained to him about the lack of time he had to give her in the confessional. He said to her, “I have spoken to you for many years. Now I ask you to put into practice those things that I have told you to do.”

An atheist was once introduced to Padre Pio and the visit resulted in the man’s conversion. He said, “I went to see Padre Pio when I had a thousand reasons for not believing in God. With great delicacy, little by little, he led me back to the faith and gave me the moral stability I lacked.”

Padre Pio attached enormous importance to the frequent reception of the sacrament of confession. He used to say, “Even if a room is sealed off completely, dust will still accumulate in it.” Padre Pio practiced what he advocated to others. He went to confession frequently. Before making his confession, he prayed deeply and sought the intercession of the Virgin Mary. He always felt a great remorse for his sins and often cried when making his confession.

To Father Benedetto, who was his spiritual director for twelve years, Padre Pio wrote, “I am seeking the amendment of my life, my spiritual resurrection, true and substantial love, the sincere conversion of my whole self to Him.”

Padre Pio knew that being a minister of the sacrament of reconciliation was a great responsibility. The responsibility often weighed heavily on him. He once said to Capuchin Father Domenico Laballarte, “In the confessional we dispense the blood of Christ. Be careful not to pour out such precious blood too easily or too lightly.”

One man who had initially been denied absolution by Padre Pio stated that Padre Pio was the only person who had been able to help him break away from his destructive lifestyle. “Thanks to Padre Pio, I was able to understand the gravity of my sins,” the man said. Previously, he had always justified his immoral conduct and had no desire to change. People tried to show him the error of his ways but nothing that anyone said made a difference to him. The shock of being denied absolution by Padre Pio caused the man to reflect on his life. He made a good examination of conscience and later made a sincere confession and received absolution.

When twelve-year-old Mariella Lotti of Cosenza approached Padre Pio’s confessional, his words startled her. “If I heard your confession right now, we would get nowhere. You are not prepared to make your confession at this time,” Padre Pio said. Mariella, as well as her parents, felt offended, but when Padre Pio gave a further explanation for his actions, they not only understood, they agreed with him. It proved to be a turning point in young Mariella’s life.

Another young woman wanted to make her confession to Padre Pio but she was not willing to make the needed changes in her life. Padre Pio spoke of her and said, “She is just like coal. When exposed, it stains. When lit, it burns.” Padre Pio had a true understanding of human weakness and was willing to go to great lengths to help a person. However, if a person was not sorry for his sins, Padre Pio did not feel that he could do much for that individual. He recommended to some individuals that they go to one of the other Capuchins to make their confession rather than to him, without explaining the reason why.

When he sent people out of the confessional because they were not adequately prepared to make their confession, it weighed on him. “If you could only understand how I suffer when I have to refuse absolution,” Padre Pio said. “But it is better to be criticized by a man in this life than by God in the next life.” He never advocated that other priests adopt his unconventional methods. “What I do, you cannot do,” he once said to a fellow priest.

Padre Pio prayed continually for the salvation of all people. To a woman who was in great need he said, “Rest assured that I will pray for you. Even after my death I will remember you in my prayers.” To another he said, “You must understand the responsibility I have assumed before Jesus for you. If something bad should happen to you which is to your spiritual detriment, Jesus will ask me to account for it directly.” To a woman who asked him how often she could write to him, he responded, “Write to me whenever you have the desire or the need. In me, you will always find a father.”

Angelo Battisti, an administrator at the Home for the Relief of Suffering, knew that Padre Pio spent long hours praying for the intentions of his spiritual children. Angelo once offered a suggestion to Padre Pio. “It is far too timeconsuming for you to pray for people on an individual basis,” Angelo said. “There are just too many people who are requesting your prayers. Why don’t you pray for the people in general rather than individually? It would save you a lot of time.” “I cannot do that,” Padre Pio replied. “I must present their needs to God, one at a time.”

Father Ruggero observed that many of the pilgrims who greeted Padre Pio handed him personal letters which contained their prayer requests. It seemed that it would be impossible for Padre Pio to read all the letters that he received. Like Angelo Battisti, Father Ruggero wondered how Padre Pio could find the time to pray for so many people. He asked Padre Pio how he could keep up with the task. Padre Pio touched his hand to his heart and said, “This is where they all pass. They are all here in my heart.”

Padre Pio insisted that people dress modestly whenever entering the church to attend Mass or to make their confession. To many, his standards of modesty were considered to be extreme. As time passed, Padre Pio became even stricter regarding church attire. One priest who knew of Padre Pio’s rigid standards, told him that he could not insist on such a strict dress code in his parish because he feared that the members of his congregation would become angry and quit. “An empty church is better than a profaned one,” Padre Pio replied.

Padre Pio’s fidelity to his priestly ministry as a confessor was revealed to Dr. Filippo Pancaro on one occasion. Dr. Pancaro, who was on staff at the Home for the Relief of Suffering, once gave Padre Pio a thorough physical examination. Besides having a high fever, Padre Pio also complained of dizziness, weakness, and a disturbing ringing in his ears. His exhaustion at the time was so great that he could hardly stand on his feet. Dr. Pancaro told Padre Pio that he needed to rest more in order to regain his strength. He advised him to discontinue hearing the evening confessions for a while.

Padre Pio was very disappointed at the doctor’s words. “If that is an order, I will do it,” Padre Pio said. “But only if it is an order. I do not want to cut back on hearing confessions.” Padre Pio then asked the doctor for his prayers. “I ask you to pray for me to the Virgin Mary,” Padre Pio said. “Pray that my health will be restored.” Dr. Pancaro assured him that he would do so. Padre Pio told the doctor that if he had a choice between losing his sight or his hearing, he would prefer to lose his sight. “As long as I have my hearing, I will always be able to continue to hear confessions,” he said. He once told Father Agostino that he would prefer to be taken to the confessional in a wheelchair rather than to stop hearing confessions.

Several hours before he died, Padre Pio asked the priest who was assisting him, Father Pellegrino Funicelli, to hear his confession. After making his confession, he said to Father Pellegrino, “Ask all my brothers to forgive me for all of the trouble I have caused them. If the Lord should call me tonight, please ask all of my spiritual children to say a prayer for my soul.”

Dr. Ezio Saltamerenda was the director of the Biotherapeutic Institute in Genoa, Italy. Ezio had been an atheist from the time he was a teenager. As the years passed, he felt an ever greater hostility toward religion and looked with disdain on people who believed in God. Ezio felt that it was his duty to convince people that religion was for the weak and feeble minded.

On one occasion, Ezio was introduced to an industrialist from Genoa, Mario Cavaliere. Mario happened to be a spiritual son of Padre Pio. In Mario’s office, Ezio noticed a photograph of Padre Pio on the desk. As he glanced at the photograph, he felt a strange tightness in his throat. Mario noticed Ezio staring at the photo and told him some brief facts about Padre Pio’s life.

Even though priests and clergymen were not people that Dr. Ezio admired or respected, the words that Mario spoke about Padre Pio made a deep impression on him. The next morning, he felt an overwhelming urge to meet Padre Pio. He could not understand where the desire was coming from but he felt powerless to resist it. He left for San Giovanni Rotondo that very evening. It was March, 1949.

When he arrived at the monastery of Our Lady of Grace, he was told to wait for Padre Pio in the sacristy. When Padre Pio walked into the sacristy, Ezio felt the same tightness in his throat that he had felt when he saw Padre Pio’s picture for the first time. Suddenly, without having any idea why, Ezio felt like crying.

Ezio was informed that the only way he could speak to Padre Pio was if he made his confession to him. He decided to wait in the confessional line. When it was his turn, he explained to Padre Pio that he wanted to ask him for a blessing for a relative who was sick. He did not want to make his confession. Padre Pio had a severe expression on his face and said to him, “Do you ever think of the state of your soul?” “Yes, I do think of the state of my soul,” Ezio replied.

“What is your belief regarding the purpose of life?” Padre Pio asked. “The purpose of life is the preservation of the species,” Ezio answered.

Padre Pio told Ezio that his soul was in a dreadful state and then he asked him to leave the confessional. Ezio tried to stand up but for some strange reason he felt riveted to the ground. He was completely confused. Finally, he managed to leave the confessional.

Even though Ezio’s first encounter with Padre Pio had not gone well, he wanted to see him again. He wondered what the second encounter would be like. Fighting the fear in his heart, he gathered up his courage and returned the next day. He tried to be as inconspicuous as possible as he stood in the corridor among a group of men who were waiting for Padre Pio. When Padre Pio saw Ezio, he said to him, “Man from Genoa, you live near the seaside but you do not know how to wash. You have a dirty face!” Then he added, “You are a strong boat without a captain.” Once again, he asked Ezio to leave.

All of the men who were waiting in line had heard Padre Pio’s words. Ezio felt the embarrassment of being humiliated in public. In his heart, he felt a great anguish. He went for a walk in an open field near the monastery. He tried to clear his mind and to think about what he should do next.

He was hurt by Padre Pio’s coldness, but it only made him long with a greater intensity to be near him. He told one of the other Capuchins all that had happened. The Capuchin was very kind to Ezio and tried to encourage him. He took him to Padre Pio’s cell. As they entered the cell, Ezio became aware of the beautiful fragrance of violets. When Padre Pio saw Ezio, he told him to go downstairs and wait for him. He would come down soon to hear his confession.

Ezio made a sincere confession and he cried unashamedly throughout. Later he was to say that making his confession to Padre Pio was the most beautiful moment of his life. His previous encounters with Padre Pio had been painful, no doubt, but that was all in the past.

After he received absolution, he spoke to Padre Pio from his heart and said, “I hope that the sorrow that I have felt for my sins and also my conversion to the faith has been of some consolation to you.” “My son,” Padre Pio replied lovingly, “Indeed, it has been a great consolation to me. God bless you always.” Later he told Ezio that he would always be with him in spirit.

Ezio had not been mistaken. Padre Pio had called him “my son.” Ezio’s heart was bursting with joy. When Dr. Ezio Saltamerenda returned to his home in Genoa, he was a changed man. It was the beginning of a completely different life for him, and he shared his new-found faith with everyone.

From: "Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry: True Stories of Padre Pio
Book II by Diane Allen

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Prayer was the key to Padre Pio's existence and the guarantee of his mission. Prayer was his daily activity. He also dedicated many hours of the night to prayer. It was the task which he felt was particularly his own, and which drew upon him the attention of the whole world. At the altar, in his cell, or in the monastery garden, with his hands folded in prayer or holding his rosary, his world was God - to be contemplated, to be praised, to be entreated, to be propitiated. More than anything else, his was a life of prayer, of uninterrupted conversation with God.

-  Father Fernando of Riese Pio X

Padre Pio’s Intercession in time of Need: Two Testimonies

There was a woman (name withheld) who was born and raised in Hong Kong. She always felt like an outsider, like the “black sheep” in the family. She never felt like she was accepted by the other members of her family. Even though she wanted the approval of her family, nothing she did seemed to be good enough.

Her seven brothers and sisters had all been baptized into the Catholic Church. She was the only one of the siblings who had never been baptized. She attended a Catholic school because her father insisted that she do so but she was unhappy at the school. She was very much opposed to the teachings of the Catholic Church. She did not believe in the theology of the cross. When she was fourteen years old, she decided to join the Jehovah Witnesses.

Years later, she moved to the United States and eventually got married. She still attended the Jehovah Witness church services but it became a source of tension in her marriage. Whenever she came home from church, she and her husband would get into an argument. Finally, she stopped going to the church meetings completely and eventually lost all interest in religion.

In 1973, she and her husband moved to Scotland due to his new work assignment. While in Scotland, she became very ill. Tests revealed that she had adhesions which required surgery. The surgery went smoothly and she was discharged after spending one week in the hospital. However, it wasn’t long before she became ill once again. A strange feeling of numbness came over her and she feared that she might be having a stroke. She was hospitalized once again and had to have another operation in which three feet of her intestines were remove.

In two weeks’ time, the woman had two surgeries. After the second surgery, the doctors discovered that a leakage in her intestines had occurred. Because she was too weak to have a third operation, the doctor hoped that the problem would be corrected without any intervention. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse.

One night, while in the hospital, the woman felt the sensation of heat on her stomach. It turned out to be blood. She discovered that her wound had reopened. She tried to push the call button to summon the nurse but she was not able to do so. Fortunately, a patient noticed the crisis and rushed to get help. Even though she was extremely weak, she had to have another surgery. The doctor felt certain that the problem was finally corrected. However, even after the third surgery, the leakage in her intestines continued and the doctor was at a loss to understand why.

The woman was in intense pain day and night. Even the strong pain killers that were given to her did not ease the pain. The doctor spoke to her husband and explained the grave nature of her condition. She needed to have a fourth surgery but if she did,there was only a 40 percent chance that she would survive it. If she did not have the surgery, she would die. The woman was so ill that she no longer cared if she lived or died. She didn’t want to suffer any more. All she wanted to do was to die in peace.

One day as she was lying in bed thinking about her hopeless situation, she began to cry. At that moment, she saw a man with a brown robe enter her hospital room. He spoke to her kindly and said, “Poor child, you have suffered too much. Can we pray?” She told the stranger that she no longer prayed. She was convinced that God would not listen to her prayers because she felt that she was unworthy.

The man held her hand and prayed. When she looked at his hands she noticed that there were scars on each hand. His hands reminded her of Jesus’ hands. After he finished praying, he put his hand on her forehead and said to her, “Poor child, you have suffered enough. No more suffering. You wandered away from God but he has found you again. Pray to God, talk to God. You can tell him everything. He is your Father and your dear friend.”

After the man left her room, the woman prayed with all the sincerity of her heart, “Please God, I don’t want to suffer anymore. Let me die tonight peacefully. Either that, or give me back my life. I promise I will be a good Christian.” When she finished the prayer, she asked the nurse to call her husband. She wanted him to buy her a cross.

The next morning when the nurse came into the room, she was surprised to see the change in the woman’s condition. The woman looked strong and healthy. The nurse checked her blood pressure and her temperature and they were both normal. She checked the incision from her previous surgery and it looked as though the healing process had finally begun. “I wonder why you are scheduled for surgery today,” the nurse said. “Everything looks so normal.”

The nurse then called the doctor to come and examine her. Tests revealed that the leakage in her intestines had stopped. The doctor said he had heard countless miracle stories through the years, but this was the first one he had ever seen with his own eyes. “You must be a very special person,” the doctor said.

Not long after that, the woman and her husband returned to the United States. Because she was still very weak, she stayed at her mother’s home and her mother took care of her. She called one of the parishes in her area and said that she wanted to receive instructions in the Catholic faith. Several nuns from the parish visited her regularly, teaching her the catechism and after studying for six months, she was baptized.

Four years later, the woman returned to Scotland. She wanted to look for the priest who had saved her life and to thank him for what he had done. She visited many of the local parishes looking for him but to no avail.

While in Scotland, she met a nun who was visiting from Ireland. The nun had heard the story of the woman’s healing and asked for a description of the priest who had prayed for her. The woman told her that he had large eyes and a beard and wore a brown robe.

Several weeks later, the nun sent her a photograph of Padre Pio. She recognized him immediately as the priest who visited her in the hospital. She wanted to get his address so that she could write to him and thank him but when she looked at the back of the photograph, it said that he had died in 1968. She couldn’t believe it. He had visited her in 1977.

She learned that Padre Pio often visited the sick and dying in order to pray with them. She knew that it was because of his prayers that she had been healed. She would always remember the touch of his hand on her forehead and his beautiful words, “Pray to God. God is your friend and your dear friend. God is alive.” ✞

Tony Cavaliere was searching for truth and enlightenment through the comparative study of world religions. At the same time, he added a number of spiritual disciplines to his daily routine but instead of finding inner peace and fulfillment, he began to experience a growing sense of anxiety. Fear and apprehension became his constant companions. He went to various doctors, trying to find help but to no avail.

As time passed, Tony’s anxiety attacks and dizzy spells grew worse and finally became debilitating. He was no longer able to work and he wondered if he would ever be able to live a normal life again.

When a friend spoke to him about Padre Pio, his interest was sparked. He told his wife that he would like to make a trip to San Giovanni Rotondo so that he could pray at Padre Pio’s tomb. Although he was a fallen away Catholic, he was familiar with the Church’s teaching regarding the intercessory power of the saints and he believed in it.

Tony and his wife were finally able to make the trip to San Giovanni Rotondo. They visited the monastic cell where Padre Pio had lived for many years. They were able to spend time in the church where he had celebrated Mass and to pray at his tomb. Everywhere Tony looked, he saw familiar signs of faith. The tranquil surroundings gave him a feeling of great peace.

After Tony and his wife returned home, his sister-in-law told him that she had an unusual dream. In her dream, Padre Pio was hearing her confession. She spoke to him and said, “Why don’t you give Tony back his health?” Padre Pio smiled at her and said, “Tell Tony that he will be fine.” In the dream, Padre Pio was holding a blue pillow with a Rosary on it. “Give this Rosary to Tony,” Padre Pio said.

The dream gave Tony the assurance that he would recover. One year later, he was in good health and good spirits, free from all the symptoms that previously made him ill. He returned to the practice of his Catholic faith and also became very devoted to the Rosary. “I am dedicated to spreading the message of Padre Pio, the Rosary and the Catholic Church that brought me the peace of Christ,” Tony said. ✞

"It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fulfillment that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life. . .It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal."

- Pope John Paul II
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