Saint of the Day for 23 September: St Pio of Pietrelcina
Padre Pio: the Capuchin friar who touched the hearts of millions
25 May 1887, Pietrelcina, Benevento
23 September 1968, San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia
02 May 2000, Rome, Pope John Paul II
16 June 2002, Rome, Pope John Paul II
O Jesus, full of grace and charity and victim for sinners, who, driven by love for our souls, wanted to die on the cross, I humbly beseech Thee to glorify, even on this earth, the servant of God, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who, in his generous participation in Thy afflictions, loved Thee so much and did so much for the glory of Thy Father and for the good of his souls. I beseech Thee, therefore, to grant me, through his intercession, the grace…, which I ardently desire. Three Gloria Patri.
Catholic teenagers, volunteers for defence
Memory of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Francesco) Forgione, priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, who in the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo in Apulia was very committed to the spiritual direction of the faithful and the reconciliation of penitents and had such provident care for the needy and the poor that on this day he concluded his earthly pilgrimage fully configured to Christ crucified.
The Saint and Mission
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, commonly known as Padre Pio, is an eminent figure in the Catholic tradition due to his profound spirituality and his relentless commitment to assisting the needy. His mission, rooted in his fervent Catholic devotion, was multifaceted, embracing both the spiritual and the practical.
Spirituality and Confession
Padre Pio’s main mission was to lead souls to God. He was known for his ability to read hearts during confession, thus facilitating a profound spiritual renewal for those who approached him seeking forgiveness and guidance. Through sacramental confession, Padre Pio worked tirelessly to enlighten consciences and help people repair their relationship with God.
Mysticism and Stigmatisation
His mystical experience, highlighted by the reception of the stigmata, marked a unique bodily and spiritual mission. The stigmata, reflecting Christ’s wounds, made her union with Christ’s suffering tangible, inviting others to reflect on the mystery of passion and redemption.
Works of Mercy
Padre Pio not only focused on the spiritual dimension of the Christian mission, but also manifested a deep commitment to practical service. He founded the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital, with the intention of providing medical care to those in need, thus embodying the Church’s mission of mercy in medical practice.
Prayer and Suffering Offering
He was known for his intense prayer life and for offering his sufferings for the salvation of the world. This aspect of his mission shows the importance of prayer and personal sacrifice in supporting the redemptive work of Christ.
Through his letters and personal meetings, Padre Pio also played an educational role, providing spiritual advice and encouraging a deeper understanding and practice of the Catholic faith.
The mission of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina represents a rich tapestry of spiritual commitment and charitable action, demonstrating how the life of a single individual, dedicated to the service of God and neighbour, can have a profound and lasting impact on the world.
The Saint and Mercy
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, better known as Padre Pio, is a symbol of mercy in the Catholic imagination, a living example of how compassion and love can work miracles in people’s lives. His life was a continuous manifestation of God’s mercy, which extended through him to many. Here are some facets in which mercy shone through in the life and mission of Padre Pio:
Confession and Spiritual Guidance
Padre Pio was known for the endless hours he spent in the confessional, patiently and lovingly listening to the sins and difficulties of the faithful. His ability to guide with wisdom and mercy was unparalleled, helping many to find peace and reconciliation with God.
Care of Physical Pain
The foundation of the ‘Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza’ hospital is a tangible feat of his mercy. Padre Pio wanted the hospital to be a “place of prayer and science” where physical care was accompanied by spiritual guidance and comfort, thus showing a profound understanding of human dignity and the need for holistic care.
Prayer of Intercession
Padre Pio’s prayer life was profound and intercessory. It is said that he had a special relationship with the angels and prayed unceasingly for the healing and protection of people, showing a deep mercy and concern for the welfare of others.
Padre Pio’s abundant correspondence with people who sought his spiritual guidance shows his deep mercy. Despite his many personal responsibilities and challenges, he always found time to advise and comfort those in distress.
Offering of Suffering
The acceptance and offering of his suffering, particularly the stigmata, as a participation in the Passion of Christ, is a powerful example of redemptive mercy. Through his suffering, Padre Pio showed a deep sense of compassion and solidarity with all those who suffer, bringing the light of hope in moments of despair.
Mercy is not only an aspect of St Pio of Pietrelcina’s mission, but its very essence. Padre Pio’s life shows how God’s mercy can flow through willing individuals and reach the lives of countless people, offering healing, hope and spiritual renewal.
Few saints were, like Padre Pio, endowed with extraordinary gifts that drew the attention of the whole world to him: the stigmata, the mysterious perfume that emanated from his body, the charismas of prophecy and scrutiny of hearts, the healings and conversions attributed to his prayer. In the convent on the Gargano, where the humble Capuchin friar lived, the throng of devotees was daily: everyone wanted to see him, to touch him; everyone wanted to attend his mass “a moment of rare spiritual intensity” and…