Skip to comments.St.Padre Pio
Posted on 09/22/2004 9:23:12 PM PDT by Salvation
Padre Pio was born May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy, a small country town located in southern Italy. His parents were Grazio Mario Forgione (1860-1946) and Maria Guiseppa de Nunzio Forgione (1859-1929). He was baptized the next day, in the nearby Castle Church, with the name of his brother, Francesco, who died in early infancy. Other children in the family were an older brother, Michele; three younger sisters: Felicita, Pellegrina and Grazia; and two children who died as infants.
Religion was the center of life for both Pietrelcina and the Forgione family. The town had many celebrations throughout the year in honor of different saints and the bell in the Castle Church was used not for ringing the hour, but for daily devotional time. Friends have described the Forgione family as "the God-is-everything-people" because they attended Daily Mass, prayed the Rosary nightly and fasted three days a week from meat in honor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Although Padre Pios grandparents and parents could not read and write, they memorized Sacred Scripture and told the children Bible stories. It was in this lovely family setting that the seeds of Faith were nurtured within Padre Pio.
From his early childhood, it was evident that Padre Pio had a deep piety. When he was five years old, he solemnly consecrated himself to Jesus. He liked to sing hymns, play church and preferred to be by himself where he could read and pray. As an adult, Padre Pio commented that in his younger years he had conversed with Jesus, the Madonna, his guardian angel, and had suffered attacks by the devil.
Padre Pios parents first learned of his desire to become a priest in 1897. A young Capuchin friar was canvassing the countryside seeking donations. Padre Pio was drawn to this spiritual man and told his parents, "I want to be a friar with a beard." His parents traveled to Morcone, a community thirteen miles north of Pietrelcina, to investigate if the friars would be interested in having their son. The Capuchins were interested, but Padre Pio would need more education than his three years of public schooling.
A year later, on January 22, 1904, Fra Pio knelt before the altar and made his First Profession of the Evangelical Counsels of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. Then, he traveled by oxcart to the seventeenth-century friary of St. Francis of Assisi and began six years of study for the priesthood and continued his development in community life toward the profession of his solemn vows. After three years of temporary profession, Padre Pio took his final vows in 1907.
Then on August 10, 1910, the much-anticipated day finally arrived. The twenty-three year old Fra Pio was ordained a priest by Archbishop Paolo Schinosi at the Cathedral of Benevento. Four days later, he celebrated his first Mass at the parish church of Our Lady of the Angels.
Within a month of his ordination, (September 7, 1910), as Padre Pio was praying in the Piana Romana, Jesus and Mary appeared to him and gave him the wounds of Christ, the Stigmata. For Padre Pios doctors, the wounds created much confusion. He asked Jesus to take away "the annoyance," adding, " I do want to suffer, even to die of suffering, but all in secret." The wounds went away and the supernatural life of Padre Pio remained a secret...for a while.
On November 28, 1911, Padre Agostino, who was a contemporary, friend, and confidant, was advised that Padre Pio was ill. He rushed into Padre Pios room to care for him. Padre Agostino observed what he thought was a dying man and rushed to the chapel to pray. When he finished praying, he returned to Padre Pios room and found his friend alert and full of joy.
This was the beginning of Padre Pios documented ecstasies all of which were "edifying, theologically correct and expressed a deep love for God. "
Due to Padre Pios on-going ill health, he was sent home to recuperate and was separated from his religious community from the end of 1911 1916. During this time, the Capuchin Constitution required a friar who was sent home because of illness had to maintain his friar life as much as possible. Padre Pio did this. He said Mass and taught school.
On September 4, 1916, Padre Pio was ordered to return to his community life and was assigned to San Giovanni Rotondo, an agricultural community, located in the Gargano Mountains. Our Lady Of Grace Capuchin Friary was approximately a mile from town and was not easy to reach. The Capuchins had a reputation for their holiness and simple life. When Padre Pio became a part of the community at Our Lady of Grace, there were seven friars.
With the outbreak of the war, only three friars stayed at Our Lady of Grace; the others were selected for military service. At the beginning, his responsibilities included teaching at the seminary and being the spiritual director of the students. He spent his free time reading the Bible and handling correspondence. When another friar was called into service, Padre Pio became in charge of the college.
Published on the occasion of his beatification
Blessed Pio of Pietrelcina, a man of prayer and suffering, was totally dedicated to the good of souls
"Far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal 6:14).
Like the Apostle Paul, Padre Pio of 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" (Gal 2:20). And the treasures of grace which God had granted him so lavishly he unceasingly passed on through his ministry, serving the men and women who came to him in ever greater numbers, and bringing to birth an immense host of spiritual sons and daughters.
This worthy follower of St 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. He was baptized the next day and given the name Francesco. At the age 12 he received the sacrament of Confirmation and made his First Holy Communion.
On 6 January 1903, at the age of 16, he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at Morcone, where on 22 January 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 a 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 neighbour, Padre Pio lived to the full the 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 sacramental reconciliation of penitents and the celebration of the Eucharist. The pinnacle of his apostolic activity was the celebration of Holy Mass. The faithful who took part witnessed the summit and fullness of his spirituality.
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 the servant of God, 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 was always immersed in supernatural realities. Not only was he himself a man of hope and total trust in God, but by word and example he communicated these virtues to all who approached him.
The love of God filled him, and satisfied his every desire; charity was the chief inspiration of his day: to love God and to help others to love him. His special concern was to grow in charity and to lead others to do so.
He demonstrated to the full his love of neighbour by welcoming, for more than 50 years, countless people who had recourse to his ministry and his confessional, his counsel and his consolation. He was almost besieged: they sought him in church, in the sacristy, in the friary. And he gave himself to everyone, rekindling faith, dispensing grace, bringing light. But especially in the poor, the suffering and the sick he saw the image of Christ, and he gave himself particularly to them.
He exercised to an exemplary degree the virtue of prudence, acting and counseling in the light of God.
His concern was the glory of God and the good of souls. He treated everyone with justice, frankness and great respect.
The virtue of fortitude shone in him. He understood very early in life that his would be the way of the Cross, and he accepted it at once 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. He accepted in silence the many interventions of his superiors, and in the face of calumnies he always remained silent.
He habitually practised mortification in order to gain the virtue of temperance, in keeping with the Franciscan style. He was temperate in his attitude and in his way of life.
Conscious of the commitments which he had undertaken when he entered the consecrated life, he observed with generosity the vows he had professed. He was obedient in all things to the commands of his superiors, even when they were burdensome. His obedience was supernatural in intention, universal in its scope and complete in its execution. He lived the spirit of poverty with total detachment from self, from earthly goods, from his own comfort and from honours. He always had a great love for the virtue of chastity. His behaviour was modest in all situations and with all people.
He sincerely thought of himself as useless, unworthy of God's gifts, full of weakness and infirmity, and at the same time blessed with divine favours. Amid so much admiration around him, he would say: "I only want to be a poor friar who prays".
From his youth, his health was not very robust, and especially in the last years of his life it declined rapidly. Sister Death took him well prepared and serene on 23 September 1968 at the age of 81. An extraordinary gathering of people attended his funeral.
On 20 February 1971, barely three years after the death of the servant of God, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the superiors of the Capuchin Order, said of him: "Look what fame he had, what a worldwide following gathered around him! But why? Perhaps because he was a philosopher? Because he was wise? Because he had resources at his disposal? Because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to dusk and wasit is not easy to say itone who bore the wounds of our Lord. He was a man of prayer and suffering".
Even during his lifetime, he enjoyed a vast reputation for sanctity because of his virtues, his spirit of prayer, sacrifice and total dedication to the good of souls.
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.
God thus showed the Church his desire to glorify on earth his faithful servant. In a short time the Capuchin Order took the steps prescribed by canon law to begin the cause of beatification and canonization. After examining the case, the Holy See, in accordance with the norm of the Motu Proprio Sanctitas clarior, granted the nihil obstat on 29 November 1982. The Archbishop of Manfredonia was thus abled to introduce the cause and set up the informative process (1983-90). On 7 December 1990 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized its juridical validity. When the Positio had been completed, there was the usual discussion on whether the servant of God had exercised the virtues to a heroic degree. On 13 June 1997 the special meeting of the theological consultors was held and gave a positive judgement. In the ordinary session on 21 October 1997, with Bishop Andrea Maria Erba of Velletri-Segni as the proposer of the cause, the Cardinals and Bishops recognized that Padre Pio of Pietrelcina had lived to a heroic degree the theological, cardinal and associated virtues.
On 18 December 1997, in the presence of Pope John Paul II, the decree on heroic virtues was promulgated.
For the beatification of Padre Pio, the Postulation presented to the competent Congregation the healing of Mrs. Consiglia De Martino of Salerno. The regular canonical process concerning this case was held at the ecclesiastical tribunal of the Archdiocese of Salerno-Campagna-Acerno from July 1996 to June 1997, and the case was recognized as valid by a decree dated 26 September 1997. On 30 April 1998 at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Medical Board examined the miracle, and on 22 June 1998 the special meeting of theological consultors gave its judgement. On 20 October 1998 the ordinary congregation of the Cardinals and Bishops belonging to the Congregation, together with the proposer, Bishop Andrea M. Erba, was held in the Vatican.
On 21 December 1998, in the presence of Pope John Paul II, the decree on the miracle was promulgated.
L'Osservatore Romano, 5 May 1999
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"In order to finance the private tutor needed
to educate Padre Pio, his father went to
America to find work."
Wow! I'd love to find out where he went. My grandfather was in administration at Ellis Island around this time.
Sancto Pio di Pietrelcina, ora pro nobis!
Here's more on Padre Pio....
Here's what he thought of modern fashions.... http://www.olrl.org/misc/food.shtml#padre
Padre Pio on Women's Dress
from Prophet of the People, by Dorothy M. Gaudiose, pp. 191-2
Women received especially rough treatment from Padre Pio because of current fashions. He had always been a merciless enemy of feminine vanity. "Vanity," he said, "is the son of pride, and is even more malignant than its mother. Have you ever seen a field of ripe corn? Some ears are tall; others are bent to the ground. Try taking the tallest, the proudest ones, and you will see that they are empty; but it you take the smallest, the humblest ones, they are laden with seeds. From this you can see that vanity is empty."
Padre Pio wouldn't tolerate low-necked dresses or short, tight skirts, and he forbade his spiritual daughters to wear transparent stockings. Each year his severity increased. He stubbornly dismissed them from his confessional, even before they set foot inside, if he judged them to be improperly dressed. On some mornings he drove away one after another, until he ended up hearing very few confessions.
His brothers observed these drastic purges with a certain uneasiness and decided to fasten a sign on the church door: "By Padre Pio's explicit wish, women must enter his confessional wearing skirts at least eight inches below the knees. It is forbidden to borrow longer dresses in church and to wear them for the confessional."
The last warning was not without effect. There was a furtive exchange of skirts, blouses, and raincoats, that took place at the last moment in the half-lit church to remedy any failings.
The women made their adjustments, but perhaps not exactly enough. Padre Pio continued to send some away before giving them a chance to confess. He would glower at them, and grumble, "Go and get dressed." And sometimes he added, "Clowns!" He spared no one... persons he saw for the first time, or his long-time spiritual daughters. Often the skirts were decidedly many inches below the knees, but not sufficiently long for his moral severity.
As the years began to weigh on Padre Pio, his daily hours in the confessional were limited to four, equally divided between men and women. In addition to being dressed properly, they had to know the Italian language, even though he could somehow understand people speaking another language. But he knew Italian, Latin, and very little French, consistently refusing to hear confessions except in Italian or Latin.
Sometimes when Padre Pio refused to absolve his penitents and closed the small confessional door in their faces, the people would reproach him asking why he acted this way. "Don't you know," he asked, "what pain it costs me to shut the door on anyone? The Lord has forced me to do so. I do not call anyone, nor do I refuse anyone either. There is Someone else Who calls and refuses them. I am His useless tool."
Even the men had rules to follow. They were not permitted to enter the church with three-quarter length sleeves. Boys as well as men had to wear long trousers at church, if they didn't want to be shown out of the church, that is. But women in short skirts were his prime targets. Padre Pio's citadel was perhaps the only place in the world where the fashions of the 1930s still ruled in the 1960s
My favorite Saint.
BTTT on the Memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, September 23, 2005!
September 23, 2005
St. Padre Pio da Pietrelcina
In one of the largest such ceremonies in history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio of Pietrelcina on June 16, 2002. It was the 45th canonization ceremony in Pope John Paul's pontificate. More than 300,000 people braved blistering heat as they filled St. Peter's Square and nearby streets. They heard the Holy Father praise the new saint for his prayer and charity. "This is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio's teaching," said the pope. He also stressed Padre Pio's witness to the power of suffering. If accepted with love, the Holy Father stressed, such suffering can lead to "a privileged path of sanctity."Many people have turned to the Italian Capuchin Franciscan to intercede with God on their behalf; among them was the future Pope John Paul II. In 1962, when he was still an archbishop in Poland, he wrote to Padre Pio and asked him to pray for a Polish woman with throat cancer. Within two weeks, she had been cured of her life-threatening disease.
Born Francesco Forgione, Padre Pio grew up in a family of farmers in southern Italy. Twice (1898-1903 and 1910-17) his father worked in Jamaica, New York, to provide the family income.
At the age of 15, Francesco joined the Capuchins and took the name of Pio. He was ordained in 1910 and was drafted during World War I. After he was discovered to have tuberculosis, he was discharged. In 1917 he was assigned to the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, 75 miles from the city of Bari on the Adriatic.
On September 20, 1918, as he was making his thanksgiving after Mass, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he had the stigmata in his hands, feet and side.
Life became more complicated after that. Medical doctors, Church authorities and curiosity seekers came to see Padre Pio. In 1924 and again in 1931, the authenticity of the stigmata was questioned; Padre Pio was not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to hear confessions. He did not complain of these decisions, which were soon reversed. However, he wrote no letters after 1924. His only other writing, a pamphlet on the agony of Jesus, was done before 1924.
Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, but busloads of people soon began coming to see him. Each morning after a 5 a.m. Mass in a crowded church, he heard confessions until noon. He took a mid-morning break to bless the sick and all who came to see him. Every afternoon he also heard confessions. In time his confessional ministry would take 10 hours a day; penitents had to take a number so that the situation could be handled. Many of them have said that Padre Pio knew details of their lives that they had never mentioned.
Padre Pio saw Jesus in all the sick and suffering. At his urging, a fine hospital was built on nearby Mount Gargano. The idea arose in 1940; a committee began to collect money. Ground was broken in 1946. Building the hospital was a technical wonder because of the difficulty of getting water there and of hauling up the building supplies. This "House for the Alleviation of Suffering" has 350 beds.
A number of people have reported cures they believe were received through the intercession of Padre Pio. Those who assisted at his Masses came away edified; several curiosity seekers were deeply moved. Like St. Francis, Padre Pio sometimes had his habit torn or cut by souvenir hunters.
One of Padre Pios sufferings was that unscrupulous people several times circulated prophecies that they claimed originated from him. He never made prophecies about world events and never gave an opinion on matters that he felt belonged to Church authorities to decide. He died on September 23, 1968, and was beatified in 1999.
Some quotes from Padre Pio, also one of my favorites:
In all the events of life, you must recognize the divine will. Adore and bless it, especially in the things which are the hardest for you.
In my greatest sufferings, it seems to me that I no longer have a mother on this earth, but a very compassionate one in Heaven.
Remember that God is within us when we are in a state of grace and outside of us when we are in a state of sin; but His angel never abandons us. . . He is our most sincere and faithful friend even when we sadden him with our bad behavior.
Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God.
You must always humble yourself lovingly before God and before men, because God speaks only to those who are truly humble and He enriches them with His gifts.
Humility and purity are the wings which carry us to God and make us almost divine.
Hold on tightly to the Rosary. Be very grateful to the Madonna because it was she who gave us Jesus.
Love our Lady and make her loved; always recite the Rosary and recite it as often as possible.
Imagine Jesus crucified in your arms and on your chest, and say a hundred times as you kiss His chest, "This is my hope, the living source of my happiness; this is the heart of my soul; nothing will ever separate me from His love." . . . Say to Him often, "What can I have on earth, or what can I hope to have in Heaven, if not You, oh my Jesus? You are the God of my heart and the inheritance that I desire eternally."
Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of love.
Love Jesus, love Him very much, but to do this, be ready to love sacrifice more.
Our Lord sends the crosses; we do not have to invent them.
Charity is the measure by which Our Lord judges all things.
Don't allow any sadness to dwell in your soul, for sadness prevents the Holy Spirit from acting freely.
Our present life is given only to gain the eternal one and if we don't think about it, we build our affections on what belongs to this world, where our life is transitory. When we have to leave it we are afraid and become agitated. Believe me, to live happily in this pilgrimage, we have to aim at the hope of arriving at our Homeland, where we will stay eternally. Meanwhile we have to believe firmly that God calls us to Himself and follows us along the path towards Him. He will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for our greater good. He knows who we are and He will hold out His paternal hand to us during difficulties, so that nothing prevents us from running to Him swiftly. But to enjoy this grace we must have complete trust in Him.
The more you are afflicted, the more you ought to rejoice, because in the fire of tribulation the soul will become pure gold, worthy to be placed and to shine in the heavenly palace.
In the spiritual life you must take one step forward each day in a vertical line, from the bottom up.
Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother.
Our Lord sometimes makes you feel the weight of the cross. This weight seems unbearable but you carry it because in His love and mercy, the Lord helps you and gives you strength.
You must not be discouraged or let yourself become dejected if your actions have not succeeded as perfectly as you intended. What do you expect? We are made of clay and not every soil yields the fruits expected by the one who tills it. But let us always humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are nothing if we lack the Divine assistance.
When Jesus wants to make me happy, He fills my heart with that spirit which is all fire, and speaks to me about His delights; but when He wants to be consoled, He speaks to me about His pains, and invites me in a manner that is both a request and a command, to offer my body to alleviate His sufferings.
I have worked and I want to work. I have prayed and I want to pray. I have been attentive and I want to be attentive. I have cried and I want to cry - always for all of my brothers who are in exile. I know and understand that this is very little but this is what I know how to do; this is what I am able to do; and this is all that I can do.
Keep your eyes fixed on Him who is your guide to the heavenly country, where He is leading you. What does it matter to you whether Jesus wishes to guide you to Heaven by way of the desert or by the meadow, so long as He is always with you and you arrive at the possession of a blessed eternity?
Karol Wojtylas visit to Padre Pio
In the long-ago summer of 1947, Wojtyla had been a priest for less than a year. He was in Rome in the midst of a two-year study program, working on his first doctorate. Extremely interested in Carmelite spirituality and mysticism, he had chosen for his dissertation topic the mystical theology of Saint John of the Cross. It was in Rome that he first heard about another Catholic mystic, a Capuchin rather than a Carmelite, whose fame had not yet spread beyond the iron curtain into Poland. He was said to bear the wounds of Christ, the only priest ever to do so, and he lived only half-days journey by train and bus from Rome.
During a break in the school year, Wojtyla decided to visit this modern-day mystic, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. He spent almost a week in San Giovanni Rotondo that summer, and was able to attend Padre Pios Mass and make his confession to the saint. Apparently, this was not just a casual encounter, and the two spoke together at length during Wojtylas stay.  Their conversations gave rise to rumors in later years, after the Polish prelate had been elevated to the Papacy, that Padre Pio had predicted he would become Pope. The story persists to the present day, even though on two occasions "Papa Wojtyla" has denied it. In 1984, the Capuchin Minister General, Bishop Flavio Carraro personally asked him about the prediction. Also Monsignor Riccardo Ruotolo, president of Pios hospital, The House for the Relief of Suffering, asked the same question of the Pope three years later. On both occasions the Holy Father emphatically denied that Padre Pio had made such a prophecy.
Back in Rome, the news reaching Bishop Wojtyla about the condition of his dear friend Wanda Poltawska continued to be ominous. A major operation to stem the growth in her intestine now loomed a few days hence. With no time to lose, he took pen in hand and hastily wrote a short, urgent letter to Padre Pio in Latin. The letter, written on the official stationery of the diocese of Krakow, was dated November 17, 1962. Brief and to the point, the Bishop pleaded:
Venerable Father, I ask for your prayers for a certain mother of four young girls, who lives in Krakow, Poland (during the last war she spent five years in a German concentration camp), and now her health and even her life are in great danger due to cancer. Pray that God, through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin, has mercy on her and her family. Most obligated in Christ, Karol Wojtyla.
Since it was essential that the letter arrive as soon as possible, Bishop Wojtyla, acting through intermediaries, enlisted the help of Angelo Battisti in order to have it hand-delivered to Padre Pio. Battistis positions at the Vatican Secretary of State and as the administrator for Pios hospital, guaranteed him virtually unlimited access to the saint at almost any hour. He was told that the letter was of utmost importance, and was asked to leave at once and deliver it personally to Pio. The hastily summoned messenger later remarked: "I had never received such an urgent assignment. I quickly went home to get my car, and departed immediately."
This One Cannot be Refused!
Battisti drove to the friary at San Giovanni Rotondo and headed straight for Padre Pios room. There he found the priest seated with his head bowed over his chest, engrossed in prayer. The messenger held out the envelope, explaining that it dealt with a pressing matter. Without moving, Pio simply replied, "Open it and read it." He listened in silence as Angelo Battisti read the letter, and remained silent for some time afterwards. Battisti was now surprised that this missive had to be urgently delivered; it seemed to be similar to the torrent of grave requests about life and death matters that daily reached Padre Pio, imploring his prayers. Finally, the Padre raised his head, and with a serious demeanor turned towards the messenger. "Angelo, to this one [questo] it is not possible to say no!" Then he bowed his head as before and resumed praying.
Battisti understood that by using the term "questo", a masculine pronoun, Pio was referring to the person (this one) who sent the letter. On the drive back to Rome, he thought about the many years he had known Padre Pio, and how every single word he wrote or spoke was carefully chosen and had a profound significance. He did not use the feminine "questa," which would have referred to the request or to the letter itself. No, it was "questo" he who sent it that could not be refused. But who was this Polish Bishop? Though Battisti worked at the Secretariat of State, he never heard of him. Nor, he found out when he arrived at the Vatican, had any of his colleagues ever heard of Bishop Wojtyla. Yet, why had Padre Pio considered him so important?
The operation to remove the tumor in Dr. Poltawskas intestine was to take place on a Friday in late November, 1962. On Saturday, Bishop Wojtyla telephoned the sick womans husband Andrei to learn whether or not the tumor had been malignant. Andrei started to explain that the operation never took place because the doctors had found that there was nothing they could do. The Bishop immediately began to console his friend, believing that the cancer had been declared inoperable. Andrei interrupted: "Oh no, you do not understand...The doctors are confronted with a mystery... They could not find anything." The growth, which had been previously confirmed as present by the doctors, had now completely disappeared! For Bishop Wojtyla, only one explanation for this cure was possible the prayers that Padre Pio had raised to heaven.
At the time, the Poltawskas knew nothing about their friends letter to the holy man of the Gargano, and they did not find out until later. In fact, the couple had never heard of Padre Pio, since Poland was still a closed-off Iron Curtain country, and there was little opportunity for them to learn about events in the free world. Thus, at first Wanda attributed the results to the one-in-twenty possibility that it was an inflammation which had healed on its own, and not a tumor at all.
Upon hearing the good news, Bishop Wojtyla composed a second letter to Padre Pio, this time thanking him for interceding before God for this mother of four children. In the letter dated November 28, again in Latin, he clearly attributes the doctors failure to find any diseased tissue to divine intervention.
Venerable Father, the woman living in Krakow, Poland, and mother of four children, on the twenty-first of November, prior to the surgical operation, was suddenly cured. Thanks be to God! And also to you venerable father, I offer the greatest possible gratitude in the name of the woman, of her husband, and all of her family. In Christ, Karol Wojtyla, Capitular Bishop of Krakow.
Once again the bishops letter was consigned to Angelo Battisti, with instructions from Vatican officials to immediately carry it to San Giovanni Rotondo. He departed at once, and upon reaching Our Lady of Grace Friary, the messenger approached Padre Pio in his cell. As before, Pio spoke the simple command: "Open it and read." This time Battisti himself was extremely curious, and upon reading aloud "the truly extraordinary and incredible news" he turned to Padre Pio in order to congratulate him. But the friar was immersed in prayer. "It seemed that he had not even heard my voice as I was reading the letter." The minutes passed by in silence, and finally the Padre asked Angelo to keep these letters from Bishop Wojtyla, because some day they would become very important.
Returning to Rome, Battisti secured the letters in a safe place, and as the years passed, he almost completely forgot about them. Then, after sixteen years, the evening of October 16, 1978 arrived. Gathered with the crowds in front of Saint Peters Basilica, he waited anxiously for the announcement of the name of the new pope. When he heard the words "Karol Wojtyla," Battisti was stunned. His first thoughts were of the words of Padre Pio from long ago, "Angelo, to this one it is not possible to say no!" and then tears came to Battistis eyes.
Thank you for posting this absolutely marvelous reminder of the saints who have lived in our days - Padre Pio and JPII. Like Battisti, it has brought me to tears.
Thanks for the ping.
Always ping me to Padre Pio, please.
Thanks, those are wonderful!
Whaht a great story!
BTTT on the Memorial of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, September, 23, 2006!