Saint for the Month - Padre Pio


Feast: September 23

Like the Apostle Paul, Padre Pio de Pietrelcina placed at the centre of his life and apostolic work the Cross of his Lord as his strength, his wisdom and his glory. Inflamed by love of Jesus Christ, he became like Him in the sacrifice of himself for the salvation of the world. In his following and imitation of the Crucified Christ he was so generous and perfect that he could have said: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

This worthy follower of Saint Francis of Assisi was born on 25 May 1887 at Pietrelcina in the Archdiocese of Benevento, the son of Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa De Nunzio. On 6 January 1903, at the age of sixteen, he entered the Capuchin Friars at Morcone. He took the Franciscan habit and the name Brother Pio. At the end of his novitiate year he took simple vows, and on 27 January 1907 made his solemn profession. After he was ordained priest on 10 August 1910 at Benevento, he stayed at home with his family until 1916 for health reasons. In September of that year he was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo and remained there until his death.

Filled with love of GOD and love of neighbor, Padre Pio lived to the full his vocation to work for the redemption of man, in accordance with the special mission which marked his entire life and which he exercised through the spiritual direction of the faithful. The pinnacle of his apostolic activity was the celebration of Holy Mass

On the level of social charity, he committed himself to relieving the pain and suffering of many families, chiefly through the foundation of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (House for the Relief of Suffering), opened on 5 May 1956.

For Padre Pio, faith was life: he willed everything and did everything in the light of faith. He was assiduously devoted to prayer. He passed the day and a large part of the night in conversation with GOD. He would say:
“In books we seek GOD, in prayer we find Him. Prayer is the key which opens GOD's heart”. Faith led him always to accept GOD's mysterious will.

He demonstrated to the full his love of neighbor by welcoming, for more than fifty years, countless people who had recourse to his ministry and his confessional. But especially in the poor, the suffering and the sick he saw the image of Christ, and he gave himself particularly to them.

He understood very early in life that his would be the way of the Cross, and he accepted it with courage and out of love. For many years, he experienced spiritual sufferings. For years he endured the pains of his wounds with admirable serenity.  When he had to submit to investigations and restrictions in his priestly ministry, he accepted everything with humility and resignation

From his youth, his health was not very robust, and in the last years of his life it declined rapidly. Death took him well-prepared and serene on 23 September 1968 at the age of eighty-one. An extraordinary gathering of people attended his funeral.  In the years following his death, his reputation for sanctity and miracles grew steadily, and became established in the Church, all over the world and among all kinds of people. On 28 February 2002 the Decree for his Canonization was promulgated.