September 23 - Saint Padre Pio

Quick Facts
  • Born to a southern Italian farm family, the son of Grazio, a shepherd.
  • At age 15 he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin friars in Morcone, and joined the order at age 19.
  • Suffered several health problems, and at one point his family thought he had tuberculosis.
  • Ordained at age 22 on 10 August 1910.
  • While praying before a cross, he received the stigmata on 20 September 1918, the first priest ever to be so blessed.
  • As word spread, especially after American soldiers brought home stories of Padre Pio following WWII, the priest himself became a point of pilgrimage for both the pious and the curious.
  • He would hear confessions by the hour, reportedly able to read the consciences of those who held back.
  • Reportedly able to bilocate, levitate, and heal by touch.
  • Founded the House for the Relief of Suffering in 1956, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year.
  • In the 1920's he started a series of prayer groups that continue today with over 400,000 members worldwide.
  • His canonization miracle involved the cure of Matteo Pio Colella, age 7, the son of a doctor who works in the House for Relief of Suffering, the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo founded by Padre Pio.
  • On the night of 20 June 2000, Matteo was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital with meningitis.
  • By morning doctors had lost hope for him as nine of the boy´s internal organs had ceased to give signs of life.
  • That night, during a prayer vigil attended by Matteo´s mother and some Capuchin friars of Padre Pio´s monastery, the child's condition improved suddenly.
  • When he awoke from the coma, Matteo said that he had seen an elderly man with a white beard and a long, brown habit, who said to him: "Don´t worry, you will soon be cured."
  • The miracle was approved by the Congregation and Pope John Paul II on 20 December 2001.