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About St. Padre Pio


1887 — 1968
Feast Day September 23
Patron Saint of adolescents, civil defense workers, stress relief and Pietrelcina, Italy.

The Italian Franciscan priest Pio of Pietrelcina, best known as “Padre Pio” was loved by many for his suffering, humility and miracles.

Pio was originally named Francesco Forgione, born in rural Italy in the year 1887. Even as a child he claimed interactions with Jesus and the saints and was perplexed to hear that other children were not, as he was, able to communicate directly with the Lord and the citizens of heaven. As a young man he professed vows as a Capuchin. He took the new name Pio, a modernized Italian form of “Pius” in honor of St. Pope Pius V.

Pio spent much of his early years with the Capuchins afflicted with poor health. In 1918, he received the stigmata, which is a mystical participation in the suffering of Christ that displays itself in actual wounds, making the recipient a kind of living representation of the Crucified Christ. It was also reported that Pio had the capacity for clairvoyance, bi-location, and the power to heal. There are many stories of Pio’s miraculous interventions.

His whole life was marked by long hours of prayer and continual austerity. His letters to his spiritual directors reveal the ineffable suffering, physical and spiritual, which accompanied him all through his life. They also reveal his deep union with God, his burning love for the Blessed Eucharist and Our Blessed Lady.

Worn out by over half a century of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity, Padre Pio was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968.

Pio is a fascinating kind of saint, that is also a bit frightening. He represents very well that our encounter with the supernatural is not an experience that we can easily comprehend or control. The Faith, which is, at its sacred center, a holy meeting with the Mystery of the Living God, is not something that can be domesticated or made easy. Nor is religious experience something that reduces itself easily to the standards of modern rationalism. As the Gospel of Mark notes, the encounter with the Lord left people “amazed and afraid.” An encounter with the Lord will inevitably draw us out of what is predictable and safe. Only when we accept this, do we truly progress in the spiritual life.