Skip to comments.Padre Pio confided in young JP II that shoulder wound was his greatest suffering [Catholic C]
Posted on 02/19/2011 8:54:52 AM PST by NYer
From a fascinating article by Frank M. Rega.
Shortly after World War II was over, a young Polish priest who was studying in Rome, Fr. Karol Wojtyla, visited Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo. This encounter took place around 1947 or 1948. At that time in post-war Italy, it was possible to have access to Padre Pio, since travel was difficult and great crowds were not besieging the Friary. The young priest spent almost a week in San Giovanni Rotondo during his visit, and was able to attend Padre Pio’s Mass and make his confession to the saint. Apparently, this was not just a casual encounter, and the two spoke together at length during Fr. Wojtyla’s stay.
Their conversations gave rise to rumors in later years, after the Polish prelate had been elevated to the Papacy, that Padre Pio had told him he would become Pope. The story persists to the present day, even though on two or three occasions "Papa Wojtyla" denied it.
Recently, new information about this visit has come to light, according to a new book in Italian published by Padre Pio's Friary, Il Papa e Il Frate, written by Stefano Campanella (1). As reported in this book, the future Pope and future Saint had a very interesting conversation. During this exchange, Fr. Wojtyla asked Padre Pio which of his wounds caused the greatest suffering. From this kind of personal question, we can see that they must have already talked together for some time and had become at ease with each other. The priest expected Padre Pio to say it was his chest wound, but instead the Padre replied, "It is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated." This is extremely significant, not only because it reveals that Padre Pio bore this wound, but because, as far as is known, the future pope is the only one to whom Padre Pio ever revealed existence of this secret wound.
Centuries earlier, Our Lord himself had revealed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in a vision, that his shoulder wound from carrying the heavy wooden cross caused him his greatest suffering, and that the cross tore into his flesh right up to the shoulder bone.
As ever, I am indebted to Frank M Rega for his fastidious research on Padre Pio.
This Roman Catholic prayer is variously attributed to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux or to St. Gertrude or St. Mechtilde.
'"O Loving Jesus, Meek Lamb of God, I miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy Flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross, to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen."
According to St. Bernard, he asked Jesus which was His greatest unrecorded suffering and the wound that inflicted the most pain on Him in Calvary and Jesus answered:
"I had on My Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound which was more painful than the others and which is not recorded by men. Honor this Wound with thy devotion and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through its virtue and merit and in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins and will no longer remember their mortal sins."
In the twelfth century Pope Eugenius III approved of the promises with regards to this prayer. The modern version of the prayer bears the imprimatur of Bishop Thomas D. Bevan.
I seem to remember Raymond Arroyo having a trivia question on his show “The World Over” asking which prayer was Mother Angelica’s favorite...I believe it was the prayer that you mentioned.
I have read books on Padre Pio. He is one of the most talked about Saints. I have personally prayed for his intercessory pray in certain matters thru Jesus. I have smelled the aroma of flowers I believe two or three times. A famous signal grace from Padre Pio. It’s amazing just like God shares the burden of the Gospel here with man that he shares pray requests with the heavenly host. Praise Jesus!!!
I’m dubious of this story since Padre Pio never told anybody else and I strongly doubt John Paul would have repeated something of that nature told to him in confidence. Obviously those two men are the only sources for information of this kind.
Thank you. A fascinating post.
I concur. It smacks of a pious invention building out from the (legendary?) story about Bernard of Clairvaux.
Not many people know about the shoulder wound of Padre Pio.
In the book I read about Padre Pio the shoulder wound was mentioned and picture of the undershirt with the blood stains on it were published.
But this book also sounds interesting.
Also — thanks for the beautiful prayer.
It is not bogus. Read up on Padre Pio.
An author to start with is Griffin.
Bernard Ruffin’s book on Padre Pio is excellent...and he ain’t even Catholic.
Padre Pio: The True Story focuses primarily on the post World War II era to the time of Padre Pio's death. It was during this time that an obscure Italian Capuchin priest attracted worldwide attention for his holiness as well as his mysterious stigmata.
The author, Reverend Bernard Ruffin, is a Lutheran minister. He was the guest of Fr. Benedict Groeschel last week on EWTN's Sunday Night Live.
So you think John Paul betrayed something told to him in confidence? Sorry but that is the ONLY explanation for the authors claims.
Thanks for the post — I sure got griffin mixed up with Ruffin, didn’t I?
Thanks for your correction.
Wrong author — should have been ruffin
If you followed the news after the funeral of JPII, you may recall their great surprise to learn that JPII had few personal possessions. In his Last Will and Testament, he wrote:
I leave no possessions of which it will be necessary to dispose. As for the things I use every day, I ask that they be distributed as seems appropriate. Let my personal notes be burned. I ask that Fr Stanis³aw see to this, and I thank him for his help and collaboration, so understanding for so many years. On the other hand, I leave all my other "thank yous" in my heart before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them.
The Archbishop, JPII's personal secretary, refused to burn them. Was this a betrayal? No .. those notes contain valuable insights into the man who was elected Pope John Paul II.
He was a humble man.
Thank you ... that is what I was trying to express in my comment. Both Padre Pio and JPII made decisions, out of humility.
A bit off track perhaps, but I would love to see JPII recognized as a saint.
Rest assured, you will live to see that day.
:) Thank you, friend.
Amazing info - I never knew about the shoulder wound. Glad to learn something new today!
Do you mean Ruffin? If Padre Pio did tell someone else, fine, the story has legs.
I have read a lot on Padre Pio.
My objection was to this particular story, claiming that JPII was the source for an otherwise unreported story. I agree with Aremis Webb that JPII is not likely to have revealed something told him in confidence.
If someone else claims to have heard this from Padre Pio, then one needs to check that person’s credibility. The fact that there’s a remote source in Bernard of Clairvaux triggers skepticism in a hagiologist.
Michael Freze has an extended interview with Fr. Joseph Martin, OFMCapuchin, one of Padre Pio’s confreres from 1988. Martin explicitly says that Padre Pio never commented on which wound hurt the most. (Freze, They Bore the Wounds of Christ).
My copy of Ruffin is at the office. What does he say about the shoulder wound?
I have seen accounts that attribute it not to carrying the cross but to the scourging. A google search suggests that nearly all hits are variants on this recent Rega story which includes the Bernard of Clairvaux aspect.
Look at the pictures if you have the Ruffin book. It shows the shoulder wound on one of the pictures of the undershirt.
That’s not what Artemis Ward and I are questioning.
I am questioning:
1. that PP said the shoulder wound hurt the most (which Rega breathlessly reports as hitherto unknown)
2. That this hitherto unknown fact was transmitted by JPII who heard it from PP.
That PP had a shoulder wound is not new. But whether it represents a scourging wound (as the sources I’ve seen say) or abrasion from the cross, is disputed. Rega’s JPII story says it’s from the cross. Do you have credible evidence from Ruffin to support that claim? Or is Rega (and behind him, JPII) the only source for this?
If the latter is the case, then it’s suspect because it just oh so neatly matches a Bernard of Clairvaux vision, which is the sort of thing a legend-creator would latch on to to modify the scourging wound into something new and unique and then breathlessly retail.
Finally, one of PP’s close associates (Fr. Joseph Martin) said explicitly that PP never said anything one way or the other about which wound hurt most.
The story is dubious until someone can offer some corroborating evidence. Do you have any? If Ruffin does, fine, I’ll drop my case.
“Both Padre Pio and JPII made decisions, out of humility.”
Humility is a form of Truth.
OK, I finally get what you are saying. I was working on the idea that this article was NOT the first time the shoulder wound was mentioned.
About the hurting...I don’t know.
Probably Padre Pio didn’t say anything. He was very relectant to talk about any of it.
Another amazing fact that some don’t know is that Padre Pio’s wounds started healing — then he died the next day with no trace of the five wounds of Christ. Amazing, huh?