Day 14: Pio of Pietrelcina
Padre Pio, a Capuchin friar of peasant background, spent virtually his entire life in a monastery in southern Italy.
Capuchin Friar, Mystic
Padre Pio, a Capuchin friar of peasant background, spent virtually his entire life in a monastery in southern Italy. In most respects he was indistinguishable from his fellow friars. But for some mysterious purpose, Padre Pio was set apart. For the thousands of pilgrims who flocked to hear him say Mass, or to have him hear their confessions, or simply to rest their gaze on his bandaged hands, he was living proof for the existence of God.
Like his spiritual father St. Francis, Padre Pio was a stigmatic; he bore on his hands, feet, and side the wounds of Christ. These mysterious open wounds, for which there was no natural explanation, appeared on his body in 1910 and remained until some months before his death. He was credited with thousands of miracles and enjoyed other extraordinary gifts, including the ability to read the hearts of penitents. It was even said that he had the rare gift of bilocation—the ability to be in more than one place at the same time. In other words, he was endowed with a full repertoire of the supernatural gifts that once commonly adorned the lives of medieval saints. But this was a man living under the full glare of twentieth-century skepticism, an era when the miraculous was more likely to cause embarrassment than wonder.