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Lives of Saints

St Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968)

Feast day: 23rd September

St Pio of Pietrelcina

I was born in1887 in Pietrelcina, a farming town in Southern Italy. My parents were shepherds. I was baptized Francesco Forgione. By the time I was five years old, I had already decided to dedicate my entire life to God. I also began inflicting penances on myself.

As a youth I experienced heavenly visions and ecstasies. In 1897, after having completed three years at the public school, I was drawn to the life of a friar. When I expressed my desire to my parents, they sought to find out if I was eligible to enter the Capuchin Order. The Order was interested, but I needed more qualifications. My father travelled to the US to earn enough money for my education.

When I joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin I was given the name Pio. Ater I was ordained priest, in 1910, I was popularly known as Padre Pio. Due to ill health, I was permitted to live with my family for a while. During this time, I maintained my friar life by saying Mass daily and teaching at school. In 1916, I was ordered to return to my community life. I was sent to San Giovanni Rotondo, where I stayed till my death, except for my military service in August 1917.

My life was one of suffering. In 1918, while kneeling before a cross, I had the first occurrence of stigmata. This phenomenon continued for fifty years until the end of my life. I began to manifest other spiritual gifts, including the gifts of healing, bilocation, levitation, prophecy, miracles, abstinence from both sleep and nourishment, the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues, the gift of conversions, and the fragrance from my wounds. At one point, I was prevented from performing my priestly duties (such as hearing confessions), and I could only say Mass in private. In the mid 1960s, Pope Paul VI firmly dismissed all accusations against me.

My canonization took place in 2002.

“After my death I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death.”

St Pio of Pietrelcina

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