The 20th of September 1918, A humble Franciscan Padre in Pietrelcina, Italy was blessed with the same marks as His Lord Jesus, the Stigmata
"It all happened in a flash. While all this was taking place, I saw before me a mysterious Person, 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. '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 Person disappeared and I became aware that my hands, feet and side were pierced and were dripping with blood" (Ep., V. 1, no. 5 10, p. 1094)
The above was written from Padre Pio to Padre Benedetto in a letter describing the trance he fell into as he prayed at the later after delivering Mass, awakening to find the bloodied marks on his hands and feet, and one very painful wound in his side.
At first Padre Pio felt humiliated by the somewhat painful bleeding wounds, and could not understand why The Lord would wish them upon him, but he came to understand their symbolism and meaning, and drew
Over the next 50 years, Padre Pio became very famous as the word of his bleeding hands travelled the globe, Doctors from across the globe visited him to study the phenomena, with little understanding of what was happening.
One of their concerns was the amount of blood Padre Pio would lose whilst bleeding. It takes nourishment to produce blood, and Pio was very much known as being a frugal eater, so much so they say his diet at the time would not sustain a small child, but every year as he grew older, his energy would increase, in stark contrast to the amount of blood he lost weekly – another unexplained phenomena.
Other than the obvious bleeding associated with the stigmata, Padre Pio also suffered another less talked about phenomena, that of the “scourging” and the feeling of the crown of thorns pushed hard upon his head. These were both phenomena he felt on a weekly basis for the rest of his life. On some days of importance, he would feel the crown with much greater force, but Padre Pio knew that the stigmata was an important gift, and dealt with the pain as best he could, not letting on to his parishioners exactly what he was feeling.
On the 23rd of December 1968, at 2:30am, Padre Pio died in his small cell, his wounds healed. He was later buried in a crypt inside the small Church “Our Lady Of Grace: where his body still lays today.
Padre Pio's fame had grown substantially during Word War Two, when the Americans had discovered him, during and after this period, thousands began to flock to the small Church in Italy to witness the miracle of the stigmata and be blessed by the Padre.
In Rome, on December 18th, in the Year of Our Lord 1997, Padre Pio was Beatified.
On June 16th 2002, Pope John Paul II declared Pio, born Francesco Forgione, Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.
Padre Pio is Patron of Civil Defense Volunteers
Padre Pio is Patron of Catholic adolescents
© 2013 Allen Tiller
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