Padre Pio

Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione on the 25 May, 1887. He was born in Pietrelcina, Southern Italy. At an early age he felt drawn to the priesthood, but he also enjoyed all the pleasures of the world.

Francesco became a Capuchin novice at the age of sixteen. He received the habit in 1902 and the name Brother Pio. With the help of God and faith in the Lord, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1910, after seven years of study. He was then called Padre Pio. Padre Pio believed that a guardian angel would look after you whenever you are doing something.

When Padre Pio was hearing confessions in a church at San Giovanni Rotondo, his heart was pierced by a lance. He suffered for the faith and when he was asked about suffering he said 'Don't believe them that it is only my soul that is involved in this martyrdom. My body shares in it also'. He also suffered the stigmata. This meant that his hands, feet and side bore the wounds that Jesus suffered when he was nailed to the cross.

When it became known that Padre Pio suffered from the stigmata, many thought it was a fake. But the provincial superior who examined the wounds immediately after they first appeared said that he was almost able to see through Padre Pio's hands. The Church authorities were very cautious. It was usual for them to investigate something extraordinary like this to see whether it was caused by miraculous or natural causes. Padre Pio always went along with their requests. At one time, he was forbidden to show his stigmata to anyone, and people were forbidden to come to see him at the monastery. It soon became obvious that Padre Pio's stigmata were miraculous.

In order to help others, Padre Pio prayed to his guardian angel. One woman had a tumour on her spine. She asked Padre Pio to pray for her. He did, and when the surgeon was about to do the operation, the tumour had completely gone.

When people saw Padre Pio with the stigmata they began to realise that to be a priest is to act on behalf of Jesus in the Church. Padre Pio helped to link humanity with God. 'Near us is a celestial spirit, who from the cradle to the tomb, does not leave us for an instant.'

Aisling Murrihy, Year 9
St. Michael's Convent School,
Barnet, London.