Padre Pio's Friends
Joe Peterson served Padre Pio's Masses on his annual visits to see his personal friend and spiritual advisor.
"Remembering Padre Pio"
Article on Pietrelena by Joe Peluso
During the Second World War, I was stationed in Italy and had the honor and privilege to meet Padre Pio, his family and their close friends. This beautiful friendship has endured through the years.
I first met Padre Pio on October 6, 1944 and enjoyed many congenial visits with him for the next ten months when my Army unit was transferred to France on July 15, 1945. In those ten months, a close relationship developed with Padre Pio, his father Grazio, his brother Michael, and Michael's daughter Pia, and her fiance Mario and me.
After the war, I returned to America, but my dream was to return to Italy to spend some time with Pia and Mario, my adopted family.
My dream became a reality in March of 1988 when the Padre Pio Foundation of America in Cromwell, Connecticut, invited me to accompany them to Italy to record on VCR Padre Pio's birthplace and the Monastery where he lived for over fifty years and now lies at rest. Four of us made the pilgrimage to Italy; Joe Peterson, another U.S. soldier who was very close to Padre Pio; Br. John Sulyma, a member of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles who was the camera man; Fr. Bob McQueeney, the Spiritual Director of the Padre Pio Foundation of America; and myself.
Fr. Bob supervised the project while, in reality, he was complying with the wish of Padre Pio to make all of America his Spiritual Children by introducing Padre Pio into the homes of those Americans who do not know of him.
Pietrelcina is the birthplace of Padre Pio who was born Francesco Forgione. He spent his childhood in Pietrelcina, and was assigned there after his ordination as a Capuchin Priest in 1910 until he was drafted into the Italian Army in 1915.
When we arrived at Pietrelcina, we were invited to be guests of the Capuchin Monks at their Monastery. This is the same Monastery that was built by Mary Pyle in fulfillment of the prophecy of Padre Pio when he was a young boy. At that time, he had told Padre Pannullo, the Pastor at Pietrelcina, that "I can hear the angels singing because one day a Monastery will be built on this very spot."
With his video camera, Br. John recorded all of Padre Pio's "Beth- lehem" where he grew in sanctity and grace behind its walls. High up on a castle wall stands the Santa Anna Chapel where Padre Pio was baptized and served as an altar boy. This church was completely restored by the Padre Pio Foundation of America based in Cromwell, CT. Not a single detail was omitted in making this little Church conform to the exact condition that existed in 1887.
In 1915, at the Forgione farm on the outskirts of Pietrelcina, Padre Pio was praying under a tree when a snake crawled across his lap. Referring to the snake as Satan, Padre Pio said: "Even here you won't let me alone." Suddenly, his hands, feet and side began to burn as if hit by a bolt of lightning. This was the invisible Stigmata which man- ifested itself in the choir at San Giovanni Rotondo in 1918. As you know, a Stigmatist bears the visible wounds of Christ crucified. And, what is left of the tree under which he was sitting is preserved in a room in the little Chapel because relic seekers had reduced the tree to no more than a trunk.
After bidding farewell to the Priests and Brothers at the Monastery at Pietrelcina, the four of us headed to San Giovanni Rotondo where Fr. Bob, Br. John and Joe Peterson checked in at the local hotel and I went to stay with Pia and Mario, Padre Pio's niece and her husband. I do not have the words to explain how I cherished that reunion after 43 years. My dream had been realized.
In the following days, we video-taped as much as we could of this holy place that continues to exude the presence of so great a man. This was Padre Pio's "Jerusalem" where he followed Jesus with love to Calvary, sacrificing his life for the salvation of souls.
Padre Pio Foundation
The Padre Pio Foundation - How it all started
Beloved Padre Pio, today I come to add my prayer to the thousands of
prayers offered to you every day by those who love and venerate you. They ask
for cures and healings, earthly and spiritual blessings, and peace for body
and mind. And because of your friendship with the Lord, he heals those you ask
to be healed, and forgives those you forgive.
Through your visible wounds of the Cross, which you bore for 50 years, you were chosen in our time to glorify the crucified Jesus. Because the Cross has been replaced by other symbols, please help us to bring it back in our midst, for we acknowledge it is the only true sign of salvation.
As we lovingly recall the wounds that pierced your hands, feet and side, we not only remember the blood you shed in pain, but your smile, and the invisible halo of sweet smelling flowers that surrounded your presence, the perfume of sanctity.
Padre Pio, may the healings of the sick become the testimony that the Lord has invited you to join the holy company of Saints. In your kindness, please help me with my own special request: (mention here your petition, and make the sign of the Cross).
Bless me and my loved ones. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In Memoriam J.S. The following quotes of Padre Pio tell how he looked after and loved his spiritual family:
'I love my Spiritual Children as much as my own soul and even more.'
'Once I take a soul on, I also take on their entire family as my spiritual children.'
'To my Spiritual Children, my prayers for you will never be lacking.'
'If one of my spiritual children ever goes astray, I shall leave my flock and seek him out.'
Pray, Hope, Don't Worry
My wife was diagnosed with Colon Cancer in June of 1999. She has had two major operations, one radiation treatment and two bouts with chemo. After the last surgery and radiation treatment the doctors felt they had gotten it for sure, this time. However, to make sure they recommended a final and very severe regiment of chemo. She had just started the latest cycle of chemo when she got very sick. I took her to the emergency room. The doctors said she had a blockage in her small intestine and would probably have to operate. This was devastating to my wife, family and me - by the way it all started on the evening of the 24th of April - the day Fr. McQueeney passed away. On Saturday the doctors were going to operate but said they would wait one more day to see if this problem would resolve itself. That Saturday I went to Mass. Before Mass started I went to the vestibule of our Church, St. Andrew's, in Reston, VA, where there is a life size statue of Padre Pio. I asked him to pray for my wife to get better. I repeated over and over to myself Padre Pio's words, "Pray, Hope, and don't Worry!" - needless to say I was doing a lot of worrying. As Mass started I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders until it came time for the Homily. Fr. Fasano, our parish priest, who celebrates the 5:30 PM Mass gave an unusually short Homily - let me say here that Fr. Fasano's are some of the most spiritually moving I have heard in my life! The last words of his homily were - "...as Padre Pio says, Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry!" - Needles to say I got goose bumps and then a great calm came over me. That night my wife started to feel better - the pain went away and she started to eat again. Here improvement was so great that they sent her home on Monday - she has no pain and is eating again. One more point I should mention - we will celebrate her birthday on the 16th of June - the same day Padre Pio will be canonized. I want everyone to know that Padre Pio can help you too.
In Padre Pioís Arms
So often we consider an intercession by Padre Pio a physical healing of
some sort. But Padre Pio also brings us, everyday, spiritual healing and with
that healing it brings us comfort and enables us to deal with situations that
could otherwise be devastating. The following story came from one our
benefactors through an email. She was kind enough to allow us to share it with
"I prayed to Padre Pio when my beloved husband, Richard, was dying of cancer. I know Padre Pio was with us because my husband did not suffer and died peacefully, at home, surrounded by his loving family. At the time of his death we all felt an inner peace and joy. I am sure Padre Pio carried my husband in his arms to heaven."
Visit to see Padre Pio
This is an intercession about a little boy. A friend told us that she
learned of Padre Pio from her mother-in-law.
In 1967, my mother-in-law took her dying eight year old son, five thousand miles to meet Padre Pio. The doctors at the childrenís hospital where he had been treated for years, told her to take him home and enjoy him Ė he only had a little time left. He had a cancer which at that time had a 2% survival rate. Instead, she took him to San Giovanni Rotondo to meet Padre Pio. The friars escorted him up to Padre Pioís cell while she waited. When they brought him back to her, Padre Pio said something to her in Italian and one of the friars translated it for her and he said, "The boy will be alright."
Her son, my husbandís brother, just recently turned 40!
"Who's that in the Corner?"
One of our loyal and dedicated benefactors sent us this note and we thought
we would share it with you:
When our kids were young, we used to do a daily rosary. I would gather all the kids and grandkids and pray. One day I lit the candles and asked Padre Pio to join us in spirit. When we were finished and I put Our Ladyís statue away, one of our little ones asked me very sweetly, "Mom, who was that old man in the brown robe with a beard in the corner saying the rosary with us?" The boy saw nothing unusual about a strange monk praying with us.
The White Feather
The following story is from a friend who responded to our request to send
us your Angel stories. We thank her for allowing us to share this beautiful
story with you.
The White Feather
I was reading how Padre Pio believed people could send their guardian angels to others to help them. And how he told his friends they could send their angels to him with a message and he would help as much as possible.
My mother-in-law was dying of leukemia. She had such a hard life. It was sad that she had to suffer. I asked my guardian angel, whom I pictured sitting across from me at my kitchen table, to go to Padre Pio. My message was to either heal her or take her peacefully to heaven. I then waved goodbye to him
I was looking out my window, imagining my guardian angel flying off and feeling very peaceful. I asked him, "By the way, do you think you could leave me a big, white feather, from your wing, on the kitchen chair where you were sitting, to prove you were really here?" I got up and looked on the chair, but there was no feather. "That's okay, I still believe." I proceeded to go into the living room and there, in the middle of the floor was a tiny, fluffy feather! He left it on his way out the door!! Not that guardian angels need a door to go through, but..........why not?
Mom died a few days later. Her suffering was over. I was walking on the boardwalk, watching the most beautiful sunset, thinking of Mom and thinking of the feather. Right in my path, sticking straight- up in the slat of the boardwalk, was a large white feather! "Dear Guardian Angel, you knew I really wanted that large white feather all along, didn't you? Thank you ...... but wait, ..........Mom, was it from you?" And ................... why not?
A True "Thanksgiving" Day
This letter came to us from a friend on the Internet. He has given us
permission to use his story and we thank him and his family for that.**
I was introduced to Padre Pio by my mother, then also again by a close friend and business partner who is a Deacon in the Catholic church. Having known of Padre Pioís miracle healing powers, I prayed to him recently for my wife and our first child. My wife Lori developed toxemia during her ninth month of pregnancy and the doctor said she was one of the worst cases he had seen in his 17 year career. He told us that she jumped from page 1 to the last page in the book of toxemia. After the ordeal was over, he told us that she was on the verge of seizures and possible coma.
On November 23, 1997 at 5:00 am, we arrived at the hospital because my wife had "indigestion" that would not go away. It turned out that the pain was caused by the liver stretching due to the toxemia, which was causing bad gastritis. The doctor decided to perform a Cesarean Section birth to cure Lori and to relieve the stress on the baby.
Kara Lynn was born on November 23, 1997 at 1:28 pm. After 2 days, she developed a case of jaundice which is not abnormal in new babies. However, a normal jaundice level is 10.6 - 13.0. Kara was 15.8 when they checked her. She was then put under a special UV light system to drop the level. After 4-6 hours under the lights, her level actually went up to 16.1. The doctors and nurses were nervous and said that this level could be serious. I began praying to Padre Pio to help Kara Lynn overcome this jaundice and become healthy. I also prayed for my wife, that her health be restored since she had developed severe high blood pressure. Every two hours after feeding Kara, I would say a prayer to Padre Pio and God to help both Lori and Kara to get well.
We were scheduled to be discharged on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, 1997, but at 3:00 am the nurses told us there would be no way that Kara would be well enough to be released on Thursday and that it would probably take most of Thursday for her levels to drop into the safe zone. Miraculously, after three more two hour sessions, Karaís jaundice took a nose dive down to 13.1, which is considered safe and it continued to decrease. Loriís blood pressure continue to improve. At 10:00 am the doctor came in and told us that we could all go home and that both Lori and Kara were healthy. I believe my prayers were answered by God through Padre Pioís intercession. We were discharged at 1:00 pm and enjoyed a true "Thanksgiving Day" at home with our new family.
(**This story was emailed to us and the writer told us we could share this story, however once we retyped the story, the email could not be found. The hard copy that we printed could not be found and the actual email on the computer could not be found. We would love to be in contact with the person who sent us this story, so if anyone out there knows who it was, please ask them to contact us. Thanks!!)
This is a story that came to us from a friend. She originally told us the
story and was nice enough to write it for us and allowing us to share it with
Within a few days of returning from a Catholic conference where a topic of conversation was relics, a friend gave me my first relic as a gesture of thanks for something I had done. I did not know what to do with the relic and embarrassed myself by promptly dropping it on the ground. Feeling as though I committed some sort of sacrilege, I gently and reverently picked up the medal and stared at the face of Padre Pio. I had heard many stories of the miracles attributed to his prayers. I wore the relic daily around my neck and started to form an attachment to him.
Within a few months of receiving the relic, which I thought I would never part with, I gave my medal to a former co-worker, Anita. Anita and I had worked at St. Mary's Hospital together for several years. She had moved on to another job a few years earlier and I was surprised to see her at the hospital this particular Saturday in January.
She began telling us the devastating story of her 12 year old step son. A few days early, as the boy was getting on the bus in the morning, he somehow managed to swallow the top of a magic marker. Anita was summoned to school that morning because Samuel wasn't feeling well. They offered him food and drink to help move the cap down a little farther into his digestive system in the hopes of bringing him some relief. He then proceeded to finish his school day.
The next morning, Anita found her step son lying on the couch and he said he was having difficulty breathing. She immediately brought him to the emergencey room. The xrays showed the large marker cap clearly in her son's lung. The ER doctors tried to retrieve the cap with several invasive procedures but were unsuccessful. At this point Samuel was starting to run a fever, infection was starting to take root and the doctors opted for emergency surgery. One half of the infected lung containing the cap was removed. Samuel was then placed in the pediatric ICU. He had been there for a couple days and had not awoken. Anita said he was in a coma. Making it worse he had spiked a very high fever and with the infection he acquired, he seemed progressively worse.
Seeing the deep sorrow and desperation she was in, I took off my necklace with the relic of Padre Pio and offered it to her. Knowing she was not Catholic, I didn't know how she would respond. To my surprise she was genuinely grateful. She immediately pressed the relic to her heart and thanked me profusely. I was thinking at that moment how, when faced with devastating circumstances, people will grasp onto any hope offered.
She asked me what she should do with the relic. I told her that maybe she should place the relic on Samuel.s pillow and ask Padre Pio to pray to our Lord for her son. I then told her the little that I did know of Padre Pio and some of the miraculous stories I had heard. She was so grateful and quickly rushed upstairs to his room. I told her that I would pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament in our hospital chapel. Opening my prayer book in search for an appropriate prayer, I found a novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In very small print at the bottom was a note that said, "This prayer was often recited by Padre Pio." Perfect! I had never prayed this prayer before and I asked Padre Pio if he could somehow help me pray it.
The next morning, Sunday, I ran into Anita and her husband, Samuel's father, outside of the ER doors. When I asked how Samuel was doing she said, "Your not going to believe this. The very minute we put the relic on his pillow and asked for Padre Pio's prayers his fever went away." I responded with "Well you know, maybe the antibiotics finally started to work." Samuel's father responded with, " No, it was the prayer of Padre Pio." I immediately went to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and prayed, again asking Padre Pio to help me pray the novena and gave a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for hearing our prayers.
A few days passed and I ran into Anita's sister, who also worked at St. Mary's. She proceeded to tell me an incredible story. She said that Samuel had finally come out of his coma and the first thing he asked was, "Is the priest coming back?" Anita asked the woman at the ICU desk who the priest was that had visited her son. The woman stated that a priest had not been in to see her son. Samuel then proceeded to tell Anita that a priest in a purple gown came to see him. He said the priest knelt at his bedside and said to him, "I am praying for you so that you will get well."
Knowing the Abbot in our town had a fondness for Padre Pio, I asked the Aunt if she thought it would be all right if the Abbott went to visit her nephew. She thought it would be a wonderful idea. The Abbott and a friend visited Samuel in the hospital that very day. After hearing Samuel's story of the priest in purple who came to visit him, the Abbott brought out a picture of Padre Pio and asked if he looked familiar. Samuel said, "Yes, that is the priest who came to see me, though he looked a little younger and not so gray".
Samuel was completely healed and left the hospital within a few days. Samuel told his story to a group of people at a healing mass a few months later.
This story came to us recently from Suzanne Einboden. She lives in Maryland
with her husband of 21 years, Greg, and her two sons. She has been kind enough
to share this story with us and with her permission we would like to share it
In May of 1995, I was diagnosed with a massive brain tumor on the brain stem. At first, it was thought that the tumor was inoperable because of its location.
My mother and her friends immediately started praying to Padre Pio. They sent me one of his medals with a relic in it. I wore it everyday before my surgery and then my son wore it for me.
They ended up trying a new sixteen hour brain surgery that was nothing short of miraculous.
I was in intensive care for eight days and the hospital for thirty days. I developed many infections and meningitis but recovered from all.
Throughout the ordeal we continued to pray to Padre Pio but I didn't realize just how involved he was in my recovery until recently.
When I went home to visit my mother, she called me upstairs so that I could look at the new holy card she had of Padre Pio.
I picked it up and screamed, "Oh my God!" It was a picture of the same person I saw when I was in intensive care. While there, I would try not to sleep for fear of not waking up again as I was on a respirator for over a week. But one night, he appeared to me dressed all in white and said, "Everything will be all right." I now know it was Padre Pio from this picture I had just seen. It was like a strange peace came over me and for the first time I rested. I just never knew who had spoken to me and brought me such calm until I saw his picture.
I have made a remarkable recovery and we continue to pray to Padre Pio.
The following is a letter from Mary and Francis Gagliano about their 29
year old son, David. Their large family consisting of seven children and 15
grandchildren prayed for David daily along with others. We thank them for
taking the time to share it with us and you.
In the past I have prayed to Padre Pio for myself, my wife and our seven children. Back in August, 1996, our youngest son, David, was found to have testicular cancer. This type of cancer, we later learned, mostly occurs in young people, especially male athletes between the ages of 19-31. Cases in the past several years have shown a fairly high cure rate, about 85%. After removal of a malignant tumor in David's lower abdomen, a CAT scan and other tests showed that many lymph nodes throughout his abdominal and chest area were infected with the cancer. David started on a very intensive chemo-therapy procedure over a four month period.
The reason for this letter to the Foundation is to acknowledge what we feel is a favor granted to us through the prayers of petition to Padre Pio. We wish to relate to you what has taken place regarding our son's illness subsequent to his chemo-therapy treatments. With the knowledge of our son's condition, my wife, Mary and I prayed more intensely along with our near daily mass attendance that we regularly do. I particularly prayed to Padre Pio in addition to Our Lady and some of the saints. My wife who devotes about 3/4 hour to daily prayer, prayed quite strongly to Blessed Anne-Marie Taigi.
A follow up CAT scan at the end of David's chemo regimen revealed a new tumor located in the upper part of his thoracic area and adjacent to his trachea. After consultation with several medical specialists, it was judged that this tumor may not be of the same type as the testicular type and that it should be surgically removed. The surgery was scheduled for January 9, 1997 at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. However, because of some uncertainties and the fact that the last CAT scan was taken more than four weeks prior to the scheduled surgery, the surgery was rescheduled for January 23 with a new CAT scan set for January 17th. This CAT scan gave a more definitive condition of the tumor, approximately the size of a large egg and located between the two lungs amongst some heart arteries and a nerve vein which controls a breathing or lung capacity muscle. The surgeon informed our son that the tumor appeared to envelope this nerve and he would have to cut it in removing the tumor. David would lose 15-20 percent of his breathing capacity. The nerve would not be regenerative.
My wife and I, along with Davids' brothers and sisters and his other relatives, and literally hundreds of friends prayed for David and the success of the surgery. I beseeched Padre Pio that if it be in accordance with God's Will that this tumor would just "disappear"; that it be readily removed with no complications and that it be benign.. My wife and I prayed very intently with trust and faith in God's Will during the weeks leading up to the time of the surgery. David received the Eucharist the night before the surgery and was in a good mental and emotional state before going into surgery.
The doctors expected a procedure that would take 3-5 hours and quite possibly longer depending on what they would find. We left David going into the operating room at 12:40 p.m. We were told by a nurse giving us an update at about 2:15 p.m. that the surgery started at about 1:20 p.m. and that all was proceeding well. At 3:15 p.m., our name was called at the message desk. We turned and saw the surgeon come to us. He quickly assured us that all was well and then related how he was amazed to see the tumor just "sitting" there between all the critical parts of the thoracic area. He told us how after cutting one rib and collapsing the right lung, he was able to gently put his left hand around the tumor to feel for the lung muscle nerve and realized that it was completely free of the tumor. He was able to lift the tumor and pull it from the area with no cutting and no bleeding! The tumor was immediately sent to the pathology lab for analysis for malignancy.
The surgeon told us that the chief pathologist determined that the tumor was benign. Only 1% of this kind of tumor is benign! It was determined to be "Type 1, Castleman" diseased lymph node. This is a very rare benign type; less than 100 cases known world wide. The power of prayer and God's Mercy and Love came to us.
Follow up visits gave opinions from doctors that David was well on his way to a full recovery and cure.
We feel very strongly that our petitions to Padre Pio along with the prayers of many others provided the positive results experienced by our son. In God's way, I believe that the tumor, in a manner of speaking, just "disappeared"; and I believe that Padre Pio interceded to have the results come out as they did.
We will continue to pray for David. We understand that he is back to work and well on his way to a full recovery.
The following is a letter written to us from Giacomo Piraino.
He has given us permission to share it with you on our web site.
I sing with all my heart with joy and love for Padre Pio. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York of Italian immigrants from Calabria. Now, I live in Boca Raton, Florida. My connection with Padre Pio is intense and I feel a strong bond between myself and the holy friar of San Giovanni Rotondo.
This story really starts when I was an eight year old boy. The last week of June, 1958 my family went to Italy to visit relatives. We intended to stay one month in Calabria, but I became critically ill. In fact, I was in a coma and awakened after two months from what doctors analyzed to be a fatal coma induced by typhoid fever. It was thought that I contracted this disease by eating the cherries that were on the ground and I loved cherries. Because I had typhoid fever and was in a coma in the hospital, we stayed in Italy until September. Prayer and faith in God was the only thing that would save me.
My family, relatives and friends heard about Padre Pio, the Italian Capuchin priest, who bore the five wounds of Christ crucified and healed many people who asked for his prayers. They all began to pray asking Padre Pio to intercede for me so that I would be healed, healthy and sound. My mother used to write to Padre Pio even before I became dreadfully ill and in a coma.
My mother contacted her brother in Rome, Romano Esposito, who after being made aware of my fatal condition, he made effort to contact Padre Pio. He said, .Don.t worry, Giacomo will be saved.. My Uncle Romano said, .You always write to Padre Pio; why don.t you phone him?. My uncle worked for the Italian government in the .Ministero del Interno. so, through his efforts Mom was able to speak to Padre Pio. My mother phoned San Giovanni Rotondo and asked to speak to Padre Pio. She talked with Padre Pio on the phone. She said, .Padre, this is my only son, he is in a coma and has a fever of 105.. Padre Pio said, .Tomorrow he will awaken with a temperature of 98.6. He will be cured and speak fluent Italian, however, his future is dubious. He has four years of darkness and then, I will use him in the future..
One blessed day in August, I found myself surrounded by parents and relatives crying for joy, rejoicing in the greatness of God and offering praise and thanks for the miraculous intercession of Padre Pio. I, my family and relatives were further amazed at my new found ability to speak fluent Italian! My mother counted the events that led up to the day of my miraculous healing.
In September, 1958 shortly after I was healed we went to Rome, to the Vatican. We had an audience with His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, who gave me a blessing. A month after, this saintly pope, Pius XII died on October 9th. I was so honored to see him and receive his blessing. Padre Pio called Pope Pius XII the .Little Angel in the Vatican..
On April 2nd, 1996 I was revisited by Padre Pio in a dream which described many future events to unfold in my life, work and music. The music has been created and inspired by that vision.
I am the musician and composer and began Les Scene Inc. Music April 2nd, 1996, the very day I had a dream of Padre Pio. I want to give my first works in Thanksgiving to Jesus, Our Blessed Mother and, of course, Padre Pio.
The following is a poem written in loving memory of David Giles Jefferson, written by his mother, Viola, as dawn broke the day that he died at the very young age of five. As she sat by David's bedside, she prayed and asked God, "Why? Why? Suddenly, as if a recording was turned on, the following words filled her head. She grabbed a scrap piece of paper and began writing because she did not want to forget God's answer to her "Why?" Viola and her husband Cliff know that these words came from God and knowing that has helped them through the years and they hope they will help someone else. They have been kind enough to share it with you.
Too good for this earth --
my son walked a short but difficult path.
His little feet took him over mountains
too high for most of us to climb.
He left on each he met a happier and purer heart,
and he loved the Lord so deeply for being just five.
Those he loved and who will always love him
are better for being there at his side.
Though all of us knew very early in his life
that he was too good for this earth -
so on to be with Christ!
One of our friends, Louisa, was here at the Foundation one Saturday morning
and she shared with us the following story. We asked her to come back and tell
it to us again so that we could publish it for all of you to read. The
following is Louisa's story:
Louisa's Aunt Regina was from Portugal and did not speak any English. She moved to America and her residence became Providence, RI. Relatives took Regina to visit her brother in Los Angeles. One day, Regina and her family took a trip to the store. The next day, Regina decided that she wanted to go by herself to the store and figured that she would remember how to get there. So she left. After walking for a while, she realized that she wasn't sure of where she was going, or where she had come from, so she just kept walking. Walking and walking and crying. Someone stopped her in the road and because she was so upset, they took her to their home. Since Regina did not understand English and had no identification on her, they did not know what to do with her, so they kept her with them. They figured they would keep her until they heard news about a missing person. Her brother and his step-daughters made posters and looked for her all over. The posters had pictures of Regina and the police and everyone was looking for her.
Regina had been missing for three days. Louisa got together that Friday night with her rosary group and did the sorrowful mysteries. After the rosary group, she came home and grabbed her statue of Padre Pio, as she always does when she needs his help. She went into a room by herself and said, "Padre Pio, today you are going to help me, everyone is crying. My aunt has been missing for 3-4 days and alive or dead, we need to know what has happened to her." She told Padre Pio, "You have to help us. Please let us know where she is." Then she began to say the rosary. She didn't know why, but she felt like she should do the joyful mysteries yet she had just done the sorrowful mysteries with her rosary group. She followed her heart and began the joyful mysteries. When she got to the end of the fifth decade, when the Blessed Mother finds child Jesus in the temple, and before she could say "Our Father," the telephone rang, it was Regina's granddaughter, as happy as could be. She said, "Louisa, I want you to know that we found my grandmother. An old man with a beard delivered her to the authorities in Hollywood." An old man whom they didn't know and never heard from or saw again.
We received some Email recently from "Doris." She shared with us
experiences that she wrote in her diary and she has given us permission to
share it with all of you.
My friend Dorothy has cancer, she has had it on and off for years. Now it has started up again, she has another tumor, under her arm. The doctors said, if the cancer has spread, then they can't operate on her.
Well it is now 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I went to church to pray for Dorothy, and others. I knelt down before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, like I always do.
While I was praying, I looked at the statue. Just as it often does, it started to transform. First all colors around it, purple, orange, yellow. Then it is very bright, like a bright light on it. While this happens, the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus changes. Sometimes it is the Holy Mother, sometimes, Jesus, or the saints.
But today, I could not make out, who it was, only that is was a man. He was far away. But when he got closer, there was a golden light around him. He put his hands up, and was smiling at me. Now I could see him very clearly. I said, "Padre Pio." He said, "put your hands up. Put them next to mine." Well, I did, but my hands hurt, they felt so hot, I wanted to take them away. But he said, "I want to share myself with you."
After awhile, I put my hands down and asked if he would help Dorothy. He said, "Yes, tell her to pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to me, for three days. But she must have faith and show that faith." He said, "there was faith and true faith. It is the true faith that counts."
He talked to me and told me many things. One, that he would not only tell me what true faith was, but show me. "He did."
A few days later, I went back to pray. Again, he came to me, and told me not to worry. He would help me, then he asked if I would help him. Again, I asked about Dorothy. He said, "I will be with her. Is there anything else I could do for you?" I asked him if I could think for a minute. Then I told him, "Yes, I would like St. Martin of Tour's church in Amityville to always be taken care of. And if it wasn't too much to ask, the statues of the Holy Mother and Saint Joseph. But most of all, the Sacred Heart of Jesus." He smiled and said, "I was not to worry," and that I should rest.
Then he asked if I would help him. I asked him, "what can I do?" He said, "all who ask for your prayers, ask them to pray to me." He said, "those I send, may not all be healed, but all would find peace." Then he gave me a message for all the priests and the people. This is what he said: "The churches would soon be full of those who needed healings. Not all would be healed, but those I send would find peace. Soon new confessionals would be built all over the world. The way of salvation is through the confessional. Not just for the people, but most of all for the priests. Remember there are those of faith and true faith. It is the true faith that counts."
This morning Dorothy had to have her surgery. She first came to 8:30 a.m. Mass. After Mass, I looked for her. I went outside but she was in her car backing up. I saw a man with her and I thought it was her husband. I thought she would see me. I called, but she did not hear me. When she turned the car around, I saw the man's face, he had a beard. Her husband did not. Then he turned around, he smiled and put his hand up. It was Padre Pio. He said he would be with her, but I was shocked to see him.
Dorothy came home the same day. They said they got all the cancer. It did not spread. She looked wonderful. I thank him with all my heart every day and so does she. It's her faith and her family.
I wish I could share the wonderful feelings he gave me. I felt such peace, and love and warmth I can't explain. It's a feeling of being lifted out of myself. There is no pain, no worries, no nothing. Just warmth and love, and wanting to be with him. I'll never be able to really explain.
Padre Pio's Cell
Painting of "Our Lady of Purity" that hangs over the foot of Padre Pio's bed. He didn't want it to hang there because he considered it too rich for his cell, but his superiors insisted, so there it is. And that was good because he could lay in bed and look up to her during his hours of sleeplessness; he only slept about two hours a night.
As you look into his room from the door, you see that to the right of his bed is the window from which he would wave and bless people who came to visit. Directly in front of the window is the armchair on which Padre Pio was sitting when he died. It will be 28 years next September. He was 81 years and four months old when our Lord called him home at the end of his extraordinary mission of suffering.
He had prophesied endless things during his lifetime, including his own death, nine years before it happened, to the exact day. Seeing that moment coming, he got up from his bed, put on the habit, confessed, sat down in the chair and whispered "I see two mothers!" An hour later he was in Heaven. His was a calm and peaceful death.
Alongside the chair, on a little table, are the things that were in his habit when he died: a relic of the true cross which he always carried on his person, and medals that he would give to the faithful as he would go through the crowds. There were a few little white mints that someone gave him and they happened to be in the pocket of his robe. The table was such that he could nibble at something during the middle of the day.
During the last years of Padre Pio's life Padre Joseph Pius would bring him his food. He was continually amazed to see how little was eaten. More than half the food would be left on the plate. One day his doctor friend was at the door of the cell. Padre Joseph showed him the tray. Of course the doctor didn't have to be shown the tray. He'd been around Padre Pio for years. But Padre Joseph asked him: "Could he live on what he eats?" The doctor replied straight out, "Not even a one-year old child could!" So how do you explain the existence of this man - not eating enough to sustain the life of an infant, but still bleeding daily from five holes in his body for half a century; sleeping only two hours a night; in fifty years not taking a day's vacation because he didn't want one.
Sometimes he would have fevers so high that the doctor had to use a horse thermometer because normal thermometers would shoot the mercury right through the top, so excessively hot was his body. His whole being was such a great operation of God that it was completely without the bounds of human possibility. As a matter of fact when he was twenty- one years old he had been given a month to live because of an infection in his lungs.
In the manner of the saints who do so much to grab souls back from Satan's clutches, Padre Pio himself could suffer even physically at the hands of evil spirits.
In July of 1964, at about 10 o'clock one night, the monks heard a crash; they came in and found him dumped on the floor. He had been thrown from his bed; his forehead had been split so deeply that a doctor had to be summoned to stitch it up. His eyes were blackened; his whole upper body, front and back, was covered with contusions. So badly was he beaten, in fact, he couldn't say Mass for several days.
The cushion that was placed under his head is still in the cell. Blood from his head wound stained it. You can still see the marks of blood that ran from his head the night Satan came to beat him up.
On the wall, opposite his chair are faded photos of his home in Pietrelcina, of his mother and father and a small memorial card of Mary Pyle. She was an American lady, a convert from the Presbyterian Church who lived in San Giovanni for four decades and was a very holy Third Order Franciscan. On his little desk below the pictures are his books of meditation and the Rosary which he was never without. He took it to bed with him at night, so that the minute he woke up he could start praying Our Lady's beads. He used to refer to them as his WEAPON.
Next to the Rosary is a tiny box containing black fragments. They are actually crusts of blood that would fall from his hands when he would take off his gloves; a pair of his socks are there with the blood stains clearly visible, and there is also a piece of linen used to cover the cross-shaped wound that penetrated his heart. The spiritual lance of mystical love went in the front, through the heart and out his back.
Seeing these things marked with his blood, you can see why his confessor wrote to Padre Pio when he was still a very young man, "Your mission is a mission of co-redemption." How right he was, because Padre Pio became a living crucifix for fifty years!
Think of us when we have a headache! Then think of him limping around his monastery in those half steps filled with pain from his swollen feet. (And you understand how swollen his feet were when you see the width of his specially designed sandals.) The crown of thorns which he said he never took off; his body flagellated; his hands cut open; his body (and heart) lanced open from front to rear; yet he had time to talk to you, listen to you, even joke with you.
Padre Pio's charity was extraordinary even in all the annals of virtue. When he was very young he offered himself to God as a "victim soul: 'That is, he took on his suffering willingly, but for others.
In 1959, he was so seriously ill he was thought to be dying. At that time the Fatima Virgin Statue, with the Blessed Mother's message, was passing through San Giovanni. Padre Pio prayed to Our Lady, "Are you going to leave me here like this when there is so much to do?" He was instantaneously, miraculously cured and died of a different cause some nine years later.
Even in death there was a similarity to the suffering Christ, whom he loved so much. When the doc- tors examined the dead body in the cell, they found it to be without a drop of blood left in it. He literally spilled it out in imitation of Our Lord on Calvary.
Another marvelous thing found by the doctors was that the wounds, through which you could touch your fingers, were completely healed and no scar was left whatsoever - a sign of the resurrection that was taking place following the end of the crucifixion.
Article on the Blessed Mother and Padre Pio by Joe Peluso
Padre Pio said: "Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother."
"When one acknowledges the importance of the Blessed Mother in Her Immaculate Conception, it is the first step on the path of salvation."
"Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today."
"All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother."
Mary Pyle told me that aside from all of Padre Pio's daily priestly duties, he said a fifteen decade Rosary thirty-five (35) or more times each day.
Many photographs show Padre Pio laughing and smiling with his right hand hidden in his chest-high pocket. He is actually doing two things at the same time. He is laughing, telling humorous stories and praying his rosary. This is another gift granted by God to his special chosen son.
With great tenderness, he always spoke of the Blessed Mother as "my dear little Mother."
He always said: "The Blessed Mother is the Mother of all Mothers."
On Padre Pio's death bed, his final words that he kept repeating were: "Jesus-Mary; Jesus-Mary; Jesus-Mary."
Padre Pio often told his fellow priests when they asked him of the Blessed Mother and if she was with him during his Mass: "The Blessed Mother accompanies me to the altar and remains at my side while I offer up the Holy Mass."
Padre Pio often said Mass at the altar of "The Immaculate Conception" in her honor.
A priest, a member of the monastery, asked Padre Pio: 'Does the Blessed Mother ever come to your room?' And he replied: "Why not ask me instead, 'does she ever leave my room?"
Padre Pio's dear friend, Padre Eusebio, asked him: "Does the Blessed Mother ever appear to you, and do you see her?" Padre Pio replied: "The Blessed Mother comes to me whenever I need her."
Giuseppa Forgione, Padre Pio's mother, loved the Blessed Mother like her son. When Francesco left for the Seminary in 1902, his mother's gift to him was a large, framed, beautiful picture of the Blessed Mother entitled, "Our Lady of Purity." His mother's gift was always with him. He always hung this picture at the foot of the bed, so that he could see his beautiful Madonna as he prayed his Rosary before sleeping. The pilgrims touring the Monastery today will see in Padre Pio's bedroom, Cell #1, this picture of "Our Lady of Purity" still hanging at the foot of his bed.
TO THOSE WHO CAME TO PADRE PIO TO THANK HIM FOR FAVORS GRANTED, HE SAID: "ALL THANKS MUST BE GIVEN TO THE BLESSED MOTHER SINCE SHE IS THE MEDIATRIX FOR ALL GRACES."
Padre Pio at Mealtime
Padre Pio and Crucifix
Padre Pio at Benediction
Padre Pio greeting a pilgrim