Padre Pio also known as St. Pius of Pietrelcina was born in a Roman Catholic family on 25th May 1887. Born to poor peasant farmers, in Pietrelcina, southern Italy, he was given the name Francesco Forgione. Although they were poor in material goods, his parents were certainly rich in their faith life and in the love of God. Though illiterate , they narrated bible stories to their children every day. They also attended mass and recited the rosary daily.
Being born and brought up in such a spiritual family, Francesco decided to dedicate his life entirely to God at a tender age of five. As a young boy, Francesco had already shown signs of grace. He was even able to see and communicate with his guardian angel. His fellow students admired his deep spirituality, humility, kindness, obedience, modesty, simplicity, charity and piety.
He was ordained a priest on 10th August, 1910 and took the name Pio. In the same year, Padre Pio received the stigmata for the first time corresponding to the wounds suffered by crucified Jesus. They were eventually healed. But in 1918 he received the stigmata again and this time it remained till his deat, that is for 50 years.
Padre Pio was a very holy man. The stigmata on his body as well as the gift of healing others and that of bilocation drew growing numbers of pilgrims to him. He treated everyone with justice, frankness and great respect.
He suffered poor health his entire life but not once did he get discouraged nor did he ever blame or question God instead he offered all his bodily sufferings to God as a sacrifice.
He devoted a lot of time to prayer. He would often say “ In books we seek God, in prayer we find Him.” He also had a special mission to pray for the souls in purgatory. “We must empty purgatory with our prayers” were his ardent words.
Padre Pio died on 23rd September, 1968 at the age of 81. On 16th June 2002, he was canonised by Pope John Paul ll.
The beginning of the making of this great Saint was in his home, where his parents nurtured his faith. We too ought to do the same by participating in Holy Mass, praying the daily family Rosary, reading the Word of God daily, etc.
From him we also learn how important it is to pray and also to offer our sufferings to God in union with Christ’s suffering.
– Chiara Gomes