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A man from Ascoli Piceno (an Italian city) said, “Toward the end of the
1950s, I went to Saint Giovanni Rotondo with my wife to go to confession, and I
received absolution after Padre Pio’s counsel and penance. In the evening I was
still in the convent and Padre Pio saw me again and he said, 'Are you still here?'
- 'My “little mouse” did not start,' I answered. - 'What exactly is a little
mouse?' Padre Pio asked. 'It is my car,' I answered, 'a little mouse model.' - 'Let’s
go and have a look,' said Father Pio. He invited me to leave the monastery,
which we did without any problem.
He usually woke up in the early morning (we could say at night) in order to get himself ready for the Holy Mass. In fact, every morning, at 4 a.m. there were always hundreds and sometimes even a thousand people waiting for the door of the church to open. After the Mass he used to spend most time of his day in prayer and confessions. After fifty years of stigmata he died September 23, 1968, thus he closed his mission of the Heart’s desire, with the real cross and the real crucifixion of his body. The poor padre was very shocked by the mother’s sorrow. He took the little body and put his hand on the boy’s head; then he prayed, looking up to Heaven. In a moment, the poor creature was alive again. A gesture, a movement of the feet, the arms...he looked as if he had just awakened after a long sleep. Speaking to the mother Padre Pio said: “Mother, why are you crying? Your son is sleeping!” The mother’s shouts of joy, and those of the crowd, filled the church. Everyone spoke about the miracle!
This very important event occurred in Father Pio’s life on September 20, 1918, while he was praying in front of a Crucifix located in the choir in the little old church, when a strange personage like an angel, gave him the stigmata. Those stigmata have been remained opened and bleeding for fifty years. This was one of the reasons for which doctors, scientists, journalists and common people have gone to San Giovanni Rotondo for years, in order to meet the “Saintly friar “. But low on gas, the engine started to make noise, and after a few feet it stopped altogether. We checked the tank; it was empty. With sadness I pointed out to my friend that we had only ten minutes to reach the convent and take part in the lunch with our brothers. We could not find any solution, and for this reason my friend stomped on the starter pedal. Unbelievable! The motorbike started again! We immediately set out for Saint Giovanni Rotondo without asking ourselves how the motorbike had started without gasoline. When we arrived in the middle of the square of the convent, the motorbike stopped working again. We opened the tank and realized it was still as dry as it was before. We were also astonished when we looked at our watches: it was ten minutes before lunchtime. That meant we had covered fifteen kilometers in five minutes: an average of 180 kilometers per hour. Without gasoline! I entered the convent as the brothers were coming down for lunch; and when I went to meet Father Pio, he was watching me and smiling.
In 1903, Discipline and ill health had been woven together to crown the youth of Pio. Doctors diagnosed him as consumptive and were sure he would die. Strong in spirit Pio received the Capuchin Franciscan garb initialling religious life and therefore; Noviciate with its intense study, prayer, austerity, penance and finally vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. The peasants of San Giovanni Rotondo fondly remember the following event. In spring, the almond trees were blossoming and they were promising a good harvest. But unfortunately millions of voracious caterpillars arrived and devoured the leaves and flowers. They did not spare even the shell. After two days of trying to stop that infestation, the peasants, for whom the almonds were the only economic resource - decided to speak to Father Pio about the problem. Father Pio looked at the trees from the window of the convent and decided to bless them. He put on the sacred vestments and started to pray. All the inside and external senses, as well as the same faculties of the soul were in an indescribable quiet. There was a depth silence around me and inside me; a peace overcame me and then it all happened in a flash I felt abandonment with the complete deprivation of everything. While all this was taking place, I saw before me a mysterious appearance, similar to the one I had seen on August 5th, differing only because His hands, feet and side were dripping blood. The sight of Him frightened me: what I felt at that moment is indescribable.
It is very difficult to define the word "miracle". Miracles could be considered expressions of the supernatural. Also, we can say that a miracle is a phenomenon in which the heart obeys an interior force: the will of God! Then, for years, from every part of the world, the believers went to this stigmatised priest, to get his powerful intercession from God. Fifty years lived in the prayer, in the humility, in the suffering and in the sacrifice, whether to effect his love, Padre Pio had two initiatives in two directions: the vertical one toward God, with the constitution of the “Groups of prayer”, the horizontal one toward his suffering community, with the construction of a modern hospital: “House Relief of the Suffering.” A spiritual daughter of Padre Pio was reading a letter from him on the side of a road. The wind blew the letter fly away, making it roll downhill to a meadow. The letter flew far, far away from the woman, and then suddenly it stopped flying and settled on a stone. In this way the woman got her letter back. The day after, she met Padre Pio who told her: "You have to pay attention to the wind next time. If I hadn't put my foot on the letter it would have flown far away into the valley". Pio (Francesco Forgione) was born to Mamma Peppa and Grazio Forgione in the little town called Pietrelcina, in Southern Italy, during the month of flowers, May 25th 1887. He was fifth of eight children. His Mamma Peppa confided He was different from other boys: “was never impolite or misbehaved”, He had celestial visions and diabolical oppressions from the age of five years and he saw and spoke with Jesus and Our Lady and with his Guardian Angel, but unfortunately this heavenly life was interwoven with hell and with the devil. During the Second World War, Mrs. Luisa’s son was an officer in the Royal British Navy. At that time she prayed every day for her son’s conversion and salvation. One day an English pilgrim arrived to San Giovanni Rotondo, carrying some English newspapers. Luisa wanted to read them. She found a piece of news concerning the sinking of the warship on which her son was stationed. She immediately went crying to Padre Pio, who consoled her: “Who has told you that your son is dead?” In fact, Padre Pio was able to explain to her exactly the name and the address of the hotel where the young officer was staying after he escaped from the shipwreck in the Atlantic. He was there waiting for a new assignment again. Immediately Luisa sent him a letter, and after a couple of week she received an answer from her son. In a letter dated October 22, 1918, Padre Pio told his experience of crucifixion: “... What I can tell you about my crucifixion? My God! What a confusion and what humiliation I feel when I try to show somebody else what you have done in me your scanty creature! It was the morning of the 20th. (September) and I was in choir, after the celebration of the Holy Mass, when a rest, similar to a sweet sleep surprised me. One miracle that has been identified as Padre Pio's first miracle occurred in 1908. At that time he lived in the monastery of Montefusco. One day he gathered chestnuts growing in a nearby forest into a bag and sent the bag to Pietrelcina to his aunt Daria. She always had a great affection for him. The woman received and ate the chestnuts.
In September 1968, thousands of devotees and Padre Pio’s spiritual children were assembled in conference at St. Giovanni Rotondo to commemorate together the 50 anniversary of the stigmata and to celebrate the fourth international conference of the Prayer Groups. Nobody would have imagined that at 2:30 a.m., September 23, 1968 we the earthly life of Father Pio of Pietrelcina would end. When Padre Pio started to sing the Gloria and the sound of the bells announced Christ’s resurrection, Padre Pio’s voice broke off with a sob and his eyes were full of tears. In the same moment, Paolina resuscitated. Without any help she got up from the bed, she knelt down and she prayed for the Creed three times. Then she stood up and smiled. She has recovered...or it should be better to say: “She has resuscitated.“ In fact padre Pio had not said, “she will recover” but “she will resuscitate.” When she was asked what happened during the period when she was dead, she answered: “I went up, went up, went up; when I entered into a great light, I came back.” In 1909, we find him at Pietrelcina because of his illness, at his mother’s side. Now another intense chapter of extraordinary life opens with mystical afflictions an invisible stigmata and terrible battles with devils that wanted to destroy him began. Yet, “It all happened here”, he said, his whole future was prepared here. On August 10, 1910, he was ordained a Priest in the Cathedral of Benevento. When he finished praying he took the holy water and made the sign of the Cross in the air, in the direction of the trees. The next day, the caterpillars had disappeared but the almond trees looked like sticks. It was a disaster: the harvest had been lost. What happened next is incredible! We had the most abundant harvest; a harvest like we had never seen before, but how is it possible that trees without flowers could produce fruits? How was it possible to have fruit from trees that looked like sticks? Scientists have never been able to give any reason for this phenomenon. I thought I would die, and would have died if the Lord hadn’t intervened and strengthened my heart, which was about to burst out of my chest! The appearance disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were pierced and were dripping with blood”. You can imagine the torment that I experienced then and that I am almost experiencing every day. During the Second World War, in Italy, bread was being rationed. Padre Pio’s monastery always had a lot of guests and the poor who begged there for food. One day the Friars went to the refectory and realized that the basket only had about two pounds of bread. They prayed and sat down before starting to eat. Padre Pio went into the church, and a while later when he came back he was holding a pile of bread in his hands. The Superior asked Padre Pio: "Where did you get all these loaves of bread?" Padre Pio answered: "A pilgrim at the door gave them to me". Nobody commented, but everybody thought that only Padre Pio could meet such a pilgrim.
The wound of the heart assiduously bleeds, particularly from the evening of Thursday until Saturday. My God, I die of pain, torment and confusion that I feel in the intimate of the soul. I am afraid I’ll bleed to death! I hope that God listens to my moans and withdrawals this operation from me... “ A woman at San Giovanni Rotondo was such a good person that Padre Pio said it was impossible to find any fault in her soul to forgive. In other words, she lived to go to heaven. At the end of Lent, Paolina felt seriously ill. The doctors said there were no hopes for her. Her husband and her five children went to the convent to pray with Father Pio and ask him to help her. Two of the five children pulled Father Pio’s habit and cried. Father Pio got upset, but he tried to console them and promised to pray for them, nothing else! Some days later, at the beginning of the Seventh hour, the sainted Padre’s behavior changed. In 1916, we find him in the church of San Giovanni Rotondo, soon to become his Jerusalem, with the mystical and historical calvary of Gargano, where he was soon recognised as the “saintly friar” by the locals. Here he became a “victim of love”, by the reparation for sin, propitiator and regenerator of the many crowds who flocked to him, to venerate his bleeding wounds of his hands and feet. Padre Pio's life was full of miracles, but the nature of the miracles was always divine. For this reason, Padre Pio invited people to thank God, the only source of miracles. I won’t go away if you don’t tell me!” Padre Pio sympathized with her, and some tears were on his face when he said: “Stand up and go in peace.” Some days later, I couldn’t resist the thought of pain that the parents were enduring, so I decided to ask Padre Pio for a miracle. I faithfully said: “Father I’m going to write a letter to my nephew Giovannino. I will write his name only on the envelope because we do not know where he is. You and your Guardian Angel will take the letter to him where he is.” - Padre Pio didn’t answer, so I wrote the letter. A gentleman said: “My mother came from Foggia and was one of the Father Pio’s first spiritual daughters. She had asked Father Pio “to convert and protect my father”. In April 1945 my father was condemned to be executed by firing squad. He was in front of the platoon when he suddenly saw father Pio appear in front of him to protect him. The commander of the platoon gave the order to fire but no shots were fired from the rifles that were pointed at him. The seven members of the platoon and their commander, astonished, checked their rifles but they didn’t find any problem. So the platoon again pointed their rifles at my father and the commander ordered his soldiers to shoot again, but for a second time the rifles did not work. A good woman’s husband was very sick. The woman ran to the convent, but she asked herself, “How do I reach father Pio?" She had to wait for at least three days if she wanted to meet him for a confession. So during the Mass she stood-up and walked from one side of the Church to the other. Finally, she decided to tell Our Lady what her problem was and asked at the same moment for Padre Pio’s help. After the Mass, she started to move into the Church again, in order to reach Father Pio. In fact, he asked for Paolina’s healing and told everybody: “She will resuscitate on Easter Day.” But on Good Friday Paolina lost consciousness as she fell into a coma. On Saturday, after some hours, Paolina finally died. Some of her relatives took her wedding dress in order to put it on her according to an old tradition of the country. Other relatives ran to the convent to ask Padre Pio for a miracle. He answered them: “She will be resuscitated” and he went to the altar for the Holy Mass. Father Onorato said: “I went to San Giovanni Rotondo with a friend of mine by motorcycle. I arrived at the convent some minutes before noon. After paying my respects to the superior, I went to the refectory to meet Padre Pio in order to kiss his hand. It should be taken into account that my motorbike model was called “wasp” so Father Pio told me: “Son, did the ‘wasp’ sting you?” I was quite surprised because Padre Pio had not seen me when I arrived at the convent, but he knew what kind of transportation I had used to get there. The next morning, we left San Giovanni Rotondo on my “wasp” motorbike and set out for Saint Michel, a little town not far from Saint Giovanni Rotondo.
Finally, she managed to reach the famous corridor where Father Pio had to pass. As soon as father Pio watched her, he said: “Woman with a little faith, when will you finally ask for my help? Do you think I am deaf? You have already told me it five times when you were in front of me, at my back, on my right and on my left. I understood! I understood! ...Go home! Everything is OK." She went home and found her husband was healed. She saved the bag as a souvenir. A few days later she was looking for something in a drawer where her husband usually kept the gun powder. It was in the evening so she used a candle to light up the room when suddenly the drawer caught on fire, and aunt Daria’s face got burned. After a moment, she took the bag father Pio sent and put it on her face. Immediately, her pain disappeared and no wound or burn mark remained on her face. After the doctor left I started to pray for Father Pio’s help. It was nearly noon. As I was getting myself ready to go to the Hospital, my daughter who was alone in the bedroom called me: “Mommy, I don’t have a wound anymore!” “Who has taken your wound?” I asked her out of curiosity. She answered: “Father Pio has come. He took my wounds by putting his whole hand on my burn”. Actually there was no sign of burns on my daughter’s body even though the doctor had told me my daughter was going to die. But as soon as he went out he realized with surprise it was not raining anymore. It was just drizzling when he arrived at the home where he was a guest. “My God!” the woman who opened the door exclaimed. “You must be wet to the bone!” - “Not at all,” the engineer answered. “It is not raining.” At that point, the peasants who were hosting him looked at each other dumbfounded. “What! It is not raining anymore? It is pouring! Listen!” They opened the door again and it was raining. A woman said: “My first daughter, who was born in 1953, was rescued by Father Pio when she was eighteen months old. On the morning of January 6, 1955 my husband and I were in church attending the Holy Mass and our daughter was at home with her grandfather. There was an accident: she fell into a tub of boiling hot water. She was burned on her stomach and back. The doctor came in an hour and he said, “take your daughter to a hospital immediately because she could die from her wounds”. For this reason he did not give us any medicine. The following day she arrived at the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo. She had no hope, but she had not lost her faith. That evening she met Padre Pio. She was in the line of people waiting for confession, and she had in her hands the suitcase that contained her son’s body. Her son had died twenty-four hours before. When she arrived in front of Father Pio, she knelt down, cried, and asked his help. He looked at her intently. The mother opened the suitcase and showed Father Pio the corpse. Mrs. Cleonice, who was a spiritual daughter of Padre Pio, said: “During the Second World War my nephew was a prisoner. We had not received news for a year, and everybody believed he was dead. His parents were very worried about his life. His mother went one day to Padre Pio and knelt down in front of the friar who was in the confessional: “Please, tell me if my son is alive.
They told him it had been raining for an hour without interruption. “How did you manage to come here without getting wet?" they asked him. The engineer answered, “Padre Pio told me he would have come here together with me.” Then the peasants realized it had been Padre Pio’s miracle and they were able to tell him, “Now everything is clear if Padre Pio told you that.” Everything has been cleared and they found themselves in the kitchen for dinner when the woman said, “For sure Padre Pio’s company is much better than an umbrella!” In the evening I put it on my bedside table before getting into bed. The morning after, to my great surprise, astonishment and fear, I found that the letter was not there anymore. I went in thanksgiving to Padre Pio and he told me: “Give your thanks to Our Lady.” Almost fifteen days later our nephew sent us a response to the letter. Then everybody in our family was happy and giving thanks both to God and Padre Pio.” In the garden of the convent there were trees; cypresses, some fruit and some pine. Especially on summer afternoons, Father Pio used to stay in the shade together with his friends and guests in order to have a little relief from the hot weather. Once when Father Pio was speaking with some people a large number of birds suddenly started to chirp and make noise from the shade of the trees. The birds had composed a symphony. Father Pio became annoyed with the symphony so, looking at the birds he said: “Keep silent!” At which point, the birds, the crickets and the cicadas fell silent. The people who were in the garden were greatly astonished! In fact Father Pio had spoken to the birds like Saint Francis. We traveled all the night and day and the following morning, I took my car to the mechanic in order to have him look at it. The mechanic told me, after his checks that the electric system of the car was out of order. And he did not believe me when I told him I had traveled in the car all night. In fact, it was impossible to cover two hundred miles, between San Giovanni Rotondo and Ascoli Piceno, with such a car, and I realized Padre Pio had helped me, so I thanked him in my mind.
This mysterious and inexplicable occurrence stopped his execution. Afterward my father was pardoned due to having been awarded a medal during the war; moreover he was disabled in action during the war. After my father returned home, he converted to Catholicism, receiving the sacraments at San Giovanni Rotondo, where he had gone to thank Father Pio. In this way my mother obtained the miracles she had always asked from Father Pio: “her husband’s conversion!”. It was the month of May in 1925. Maria had a little baby who had been ill since birth. Maria was very worried about her baby. In fact, after a medical visit, she was told her child had a very complicated illness. There was no hope for the baby: he could not recover. Maria decided to go by train to Saint Giovanni Rotondo. She lived in a very little town in the south of Puglia (a poor region in the South of Italy), but she had heard some stories concerning Padre Pio, a friar who had the stigmata like Jesus, worked miracles, healed people of their diseases, and gave hope to the hopeless. She immediately set out, but during the trip the baby died. She watched over his little body all night, then placed it in a suitcase and closed it. Once in the monastery of Padre Pio, a friar forgot to consecrate the Hosts for Holy Communion. There were only a few Hosts available. But after confessions when Padre Pio started to distribute Hosts to the people, many Hosts remained at the end of the service, more than had been consecrated before. In the evening an engineer was staying late at the convent, but, when he decided to leave, he noticed it was raining. So he told Padre Pio, “I do not have any umbrella! Could I stay here until tomorrow morning? If not I will get wet.” - “I am sorry my dear, it is not possible. But don’t worry! I will keep you company!” answered Father Pio. But that engineer had thought it would be much better for Father not to do that penance, although it would have been less treacherous with Padre Pio’s assistance. Anyway, he put on his hat and started to cover the two miles between the convent and the town. The gasoline tank was going empty, so we decided to fill up at Monte Saint Angelo. But as soon as we reached that little town, we had a bad surprise: all the gas stations were closed. At that point we decided to go back to San Giovanni Rotondo, and hoped to find somebody along the road who could provide us with some gasoline. I was worried about my brothers in the convent; it would be ungracious not to be back at the convent by lunchtime, for they were waiting for me.