Skip to comments.Popular Italian Catholic saint exhumed 40 years on (Padre Pio's body in fair condition)
Posted on 03/03/2008 5:33:15 AM PST by NYer
ROME, March 3 (Reuters Life!) - The body of the mystic monk Padre Pio, one of the Roman Catholic world's most revered saints who died 40 years ago, has been exhumed to be prepared for display to his many devotees.
The body of the Capuchin friar, who was said to have had the stigmata -- the wounds of Christ's crucifixion -- on his hands and feet -- is to be conserved and put in a part-glass coffin for at least several months from April 24.
A Church statement said the body was in "fair condition", particularly the hands, which Archbishop Domenico D'Ambrosio, who witnessed the exhumation in the southern Italian town where Pio died, said "looked like they had just undergone a manicure".
A spokesman for the monastery at San Giovanni Rotondo said he believed morticians would be able to conserve the face of the bearded monk well enough for it to be recognisable.
The body, which had been buried under marble in a crypt, was exhumed during a three-hour service that ended after midnight.
A Catholic magazine once found that far more Italian Catholics prayed to Padre Pio than to any other icon of the faith, including the Virgin Mary or Jesus.
Some 7 million people visit his tomb every year. There are some 3,000 "Padre Pio Prayer Groups" around the world, with a membership of around 3 million.
The friar, born Francesco Forgione, died in 1968 aged 81.
Among the stories that surround him is one that he wrestled with the devil in his monastery cell.
Padre Pio is also said to have predicted future events, to have been seen in two places at once, and to have been able to tell people their sins before they confessed them to him.
Pope John Paul II made him a saint in 2002 at a ceremony that drew one of the biggest crowds ever to the Vatican after the Church said it had found evidence that the miraculous cure of a sick woman was due to the dead monk's intercession.
But Padre Pio was dogged during his life and even after his death by accusations that he was a fraud.
A new book last year suggested he was a self-harming man who may have used carbolic acid to create wounds in his hands mimicking those of Christ when he was nailed to the cross.
Church officials have repeatedly denied that he was a fake. (Editing by Kevin Liffey)
Were the stigmata wounds just on the skin or did it go deeper in the hands and feet?
I doubt that the central contention is accurate, although the statement with the detail, "A Catholic magazine once found ..." could be factually true. One can't ever take media's "findings" at face value.
I agree. The books and films I have seen are so interesting.
Not strongly. I incline toward thinking the phenomena were psychological rather than supernatural, but I haven't given it a lot of study.
The only apparition that really influences our family devotions is Our Lady of Guadalupe.
We also feel quite strongly bonded to Our Lady of Guadalupe. No issues there!
Well, that's the other main possibility, if we don't think it's a genuine apparition of Our Lady. I hesitate to go with that, because I've known good, devout people who believe the Garabandal apparitions are legitimate. I'm similarly conflicted about Medjugorje: I know people who have received tremendous grace there, but that's not proof of the authenticity of the apparition, because God's grace is available everywhere!
I'm not familiar with Padre Pio's view on Garabandal, but he surely would advise caution, in the absence of approval from the legitimate authorities. We can't go wrong with Sacred Tradition: the Scriptures and the Magisterium. With any other source, we can go wrong, even with the best of intentions.
The crazy thing was that after he died, his hands completely healed with not even a scar (from what I read in his biographies).
I would love to go to see his body in a few months, but there's little chance I'll be able to do that.
Can anyone explain to me why in the world these bodies should be put on display? To me, this is a sickening as that ‘educational’ display of human bodies that have been stripped of their skin and posed.
According to the link posted above,
P. Pio writing to P. Benedetto little more than a month afterwards: "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). P. Pio had just received the visible stigmata. There was nobody about. Silence settled once more round the brown robed figure now lying huddled on the floor.
The information at the above link also provides his reaction:
He had not desired this physical conformity and when he had recovered somewhat from the immediate experience his embarrassment was extreme: "I am dying of pain because of the wound and because of the resulting embarrassment which I feel deep within my soul. . . Will Jesus who is so good grant me this grace ? Will he at least relieve me of the embarrassment which these outward signs cause me" (Ep., V. 1, p. 1904). Not the wound, not the pain did he wish removed but only the visible signs which at the time he considered to be an indescribable and almost unbearable humiliation.
Later, much later, however, he would come to love and cherish these divine marks of predilection, drawing from them that rich source of superhuman energy which from then on marked his apostolate of love and suffering. With Catherine of Siena he could truly say: "My wounds not only do not afflict my body, but they sustain and fortify it. I feel that what formerly depressed me, now invigorates me." His wounds, hitherto invisible but now manifested exteriorly, mark a definitive stage of his soul's transformation into the object loved, namely, the Lord who suffered and was crucified.
For the next fifty years they would confound impartial science; their continuous and profuse effusion of blood, accompanied often by the sweetest fragrance, came to be regarded as a prolonged miracle, because, as the experts correctly state, blood for its production requires nourishment while this friar's extraordinary frugality was such as hardly to maintain the life of a small child.
The remarkable nature of this miraculous gift becomes more apparent when it is considered how such loss of blood was simply inconsonant with and disproportionate to the stamina and energy with which P. Pio with ever greater activity and zeal conducted his life in all matters relating to the service of God.
Not surprisingly, on the exhumed body of St. Pio, there is no sign of the stigmata. This is not surprising to Catholics. We are accustomed to the stories of saints who have asked our Lord, with a sincere heart, for a share in His Passion.
St. Rafqa, a Maronite Lebanese Catholic nun was born on June 29, 1832 and was given the name Petronilla as a reminder that she was a daughter of St. Peter, on whose feast day she entered the world. On the first sunday of October 1885, she entered the convent church and began to pray, asking God to make her a part of his divine pains. God responded immediately. Unbearable pains began in her head and moved to her eyes. All attempts to cure her failed. It was decided to send her to Beirut to receive treatment. She passed by St. John-Marc's church in Byblos, where an American doctor examined her. During the surgery, he accidentally pulled out her right eye. Then the disease spread to the left eye, and the doctors considered the treatment useless. After all that, she returned to her monastery where she suffered from terrible pains in her eyes for 12 years. She remained patient, silent, praying in joy sharing the pains of Jesus.
Being Catholic myself, this statement gives other Christians the heebie-jeebies, and rightly so. We should NOT be praying to saints, Mary or anyone or anything else besides the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. We ask these other entities to pray for us, but never pray TO them.
Thank you for sharing that!!! I don't believe in coincidences. Padre Pio could read men's souls.
First of all, it's biblical! 1 Cor. 11:1 - again, Paul says, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." The ultimate objective of veneration is imitation.
Second of all, it's tradition. Throughout early Christianity, Christians customarily met in the places where the martyrs had died, to build churches in their honor, and venerate their relics.
Whenever a cure was evident the always humble Saint Pio would say to the person, “God has granted you this grace, don’t thank me, address your thanks to God and not to me!”
Here but a few of the known cases.
Maria Panisi had tuberculosis so advanced that several doctors told her that she was incurable and near death; the year was 1932. Thirty years later she was still alive. Herf ather who was from Pietrelcina brought her to San Giovanni. As soon as Padre Pio saw her, he gently touched her shoulder and said that she was not sick and “lungs of steel.” She was healthy as she could be.
Countess Baiocci of Gavina who resided in Rome was suffering from an unknown malady. Many doctors had been consulted. At last Dr. Giorgio Festa suggested she should go to Padre Pio in San Giovanni, which she did. She was no sooner there then she no longer was ill.
A young woman from Bologna had broken a bone in such manner that it did not heal right, the fracture had never closed. She went to the Padre and her bone fused completely on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
A chaplain serving in a hospital that regularly received 37,000 patients within a two-year period had lost only 37 of its patients. He considered this astounding fact as attributable to another, that Padre Pio had blessed a crucifix which the chaplain used to bless the wounded. He had the crucifix with him when he served aboard two ships, both of which were torpedoed: he survived both sinkings.
A child with meningitis suffered from spasmodic attacks and was sent home as incurable. Padre Pio prayed for him and he was healed.
In Ragusa a baby had a convulsive cough. His parents were of great faith and asked the intercession of the Padre. After his prayers the infant was cured; the physician had no other explanation other than this.
A Maltese boy was seized with a sudden raging fever, called Mediterranean fever. It was of such a nature that his leg was affected to the point of deformation. His mother wired Padre Pio for prayers. She received and answer saying that Padre Pio was praying for her son. When the doctors came for the next visit the leg seemed improved and soon there was no sign of any fever.
At San Felice a Cancello, Naples, a young woman, Nicoletta Mazzone, was dying of a complication of bronchial disease and could no longer speak. Her father went to San Giovanni Rotondo to ask for a cure. Padre Pio smiled and said: “Go back home and be glad, for the Madonna delle Grazie will cure your child.” He did not believe the friar, but begged him once more; this time Padre Pio answered without smiling: “Man of little faith! I repeat to you, go home and rejoice, for the Madonna delle Grazie will cure her!” When he did so his wife and sister met him with the news that the girl could now speak and was asking for food; she continued to grow better until the illness was completely gone.
A woman from Pesaro brought her deaf and dumb child to Padre Pio, who was instantly healed. With heart-filled gratitude the woman took a gold chain from her daughter’s neck, the one thing of value they possessed as they were of poor working status, and gave it to Padre Pio for the Virgin. When she arrived home she told what had happened to her husband who became intensely angry at the offering she had made, insisting she should have given some other article rather than the gift he himself had made to his daughter. The next morning they found the chain on the bed table.
The Reverend Emilio Secchi, parish priest of Avandrace, Cagliari, told Father Carty the following story in 1947: the director of a Girl’s Protective Association had typhoid and was taken to the local hospital for infectious diseases. It was impossible for a letter to travel from Avandrace to San Giovanni Rotondo in less than several days, so the father of the patient sent a telegram to Padre Pio, asking for the speedy recovery of his daughter, who needed was needed in her duties at the parish, as there was no one who was able to take over for her. The hospital would only keep her for a single day as they expected her to die; but she recovered. Padre Pio had asked God for a full restoration of her health. The priest told Father Carty that he attributed her cure to the intercession of Padre Pio.
Wanda Sari of Treviso who was suffering from a serious malady and in great pain. The doctors told her she would be dead within hours; a friend showed her a photograph of Padre Pio; she begged him in her heart with all her heart for a cure, and suddenly her pains disappeared. She later traveled to San Giovanni Rotondo to thank him. At the time of the cure she was emaciated to the point of bones.
Father Carty had seen the child afterwards and she was robust with an angelic expression.
A blind man who lived near the monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo, known as Pietruccio had lost his sight when he was fourteen; the same as his father earlier. He went to Padre Pio to ask his help but was told by the good Father that: “Many people sin with their eyes and are lost.” That is, the Padre was telling him he was better off blind even if he had not realized it. Pietruccio showed his heroic virtue and answered “I only want my sight if it is good for my soul!” Father Carty believed that Padre Pio was giving a sign of the man’s salvation for the Saint had been instrumental in the cure of other cases of blindness.
The son of Count Marzotta of Florence, a child of eight, had advanced myopia bordering on blindness. His parents took him to Padre Pio who asked them to pray very hard, at the same time promising to pray with them. They remained several days at San Giovanni, and by the time they had returned to Florence they noticed a boy child was completely cured, as he did not even need to wear glasses.
In 1947 Gemma Di Giorgi, who was born without pupils, lived in Ribera in Sicily. There was no medical hope of her ever seeing. While her parents accepted this diagnosis, her grandmother did not. She made the long journey to San Giovanni Rotondo with the little girl, full of faith in the powers of Padre Pio. They were among the crowd of the faithful attending his Mass when at the end while the silence was at its peak everyone heard a voice calling: “Gemma, come here!” The Grandmother pushed her way up to the altar with the child and knelt down before the Saint whom they had come so far to see. He smiled at Gemma and told her that she must make her first Communion. He heard her Confession and then stroked her eyes with his hand. She received Holy Communion by herself and when afterwards her grandmother asked her if she had asked for any favor from Padre Pio the little girl answered: “No, Little Grandmother, I forgot!” Padre Pio saw them later and said: “May the Madonna bless you Gemma. Be a good girl!” At this moment the child gave a frantic cry, she could see a permanent cure although her eyes still had no pupils! She has been examined by many doctors who have testified to the case and are able to offer no scientific explanation. Padre Pio would often tell people to have an operation that they had been told by doctors was dangerous or had a doubtful outcome. One such person was Grazia Siena also born totally blind. She was considered incurable-—no doctor was willing to operate. She grew up in total darkness but never gave up hope of being somehow cured. She was a frequent visitor to Monte Gargano and well known to Padre Pio. One day he said to her that ought to have the operation. Her parents were against this because of the risk; she was They had no money to pay for such surgery. But a benefactor came forward with not only the money that was needed but the energy and initiative to take her to Bari to see an eye specialist. He was not encouraging and was on the verge of refusing, but the woman’s determination to follow Padre Pio’s advice made him relent. “I shall try,” he said, “but only a miracle can give you your sight.” When the bandages were removed Grazia could see. Father Carty tells us: “It is impossible in this case to evaluate the power of Padre Pio’s prayer in comparison with the skill of the surgeon. “We can only see in all this the manifestation of the will of God and the combined uses to which he can bring His faithful servants.
Maria Giuliano was diagnosed as having an epithelioma on the tongue at the hospital of S. Maria Novella at Florence, in 1919, and was scheduled for surgery within two days. The pain was so great that she was barely able to eat. A priest gave her an image of Padre Pio before she went to the hospital telling her to make a triduum in honor of the Holy Trinity invoking Padre Pio’s intercession for a cure. She did. She went to the dentist who was to remove a number of teeth before the operation could take place. He was surprised to find her tongue completely healed, and immediately called in Doctor Marchetti, who as soon as he had seen her dismissed her from the hospital, declaring her completely cured.
At the beginning 1925, Signora Preziosi Paolina, the mother of five, developed first bronchitis which then turned into pneumonia. The doctors held no hope, so her coffin was prepared along with her shroud. Padre Pio’s intercession was requested. He predicted her cure would take place during the ringing of the Easter bells. It was then Passion week. During the night of Good Friday she went into a coma. Saturday morning Padre Pio said his Mass and went into ecstasy during the Gloria. At the ringing of the bells, Signora Preziosi got up, her fever completely gone.
There are cases after cases such as these, all within the lifetime of the Saint, but I think these suffice to show the power of faith, of those who asked for Padre Pio’s help, and his. For as he himself said, “It is God Who heals.”
"To" is just a shorthand way of saying "ask these other entities to pray for us".
of some things.
I think some people actually pray TO them. It’s a sticking point when talking to people of other Christian faiths.
What do you mean by ‘you think’?
I forgot how to post links, but this site is for a Novena in honor of Padre Pio da Pietrelcina. It has nine days of prayers to the deceased Mr. Pio.
Here are some highlights:
"Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, loving father, you bore the visible wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ on your body.You carried the Cross for all humanity."
"You were gifted every day with the graces and comforts that only [the blessed mother] can give."
"Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, holy father, you fulfilled the salvation plan of God and offered yourself as a victim to free all people from their bondage to Satan."
"How many of your children were acquired at the price of your blood!"
"...at the moment of our death may we encounter you waiting for us at the Gates of Paradise."
"teach us ...devotion for...Mary ...our Heavenly Mother, that through Her intercession we may more easily approach the Savior"