Wednesday, September 23, 2009

St. Pio of Pietrelcina: Priest, Mystic, and Stigmatist



Today is the memorial of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968).

St. Pio is one of my favorite saints. Miracles happened everyday of his life. He was a priest, a mystic, and a stigmatist who possessed many rare and mysterious gifts. He was bi-locational, that is, he appeared in two places at one time. He was able to communicate with others through mental telepathy. When he thought of them, they began to smell the scent of violets, which they associated with him. In the Confessional, he was able to tell people their sins in detail, even those which they did not confess to him. Through the simple means of touch, he was able to heal others. God had blessed him with an abundance of gifts that he used wisely to build up the body of Christ and to convert sinners.

Padre Pio was born in 1887 in the small village of Pietrelcina in southern Italy, the son of a shepherd. His baptized name was Francesco (Francis) Forgione. He joined the Capuchin friars at the age of 16 and was ordained as a priest seven years later. He spent fifty years at the monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he was very much sought after as a spiritual advisor, confessor, and intercessor. Throughout his life, he experienced many mysterious health problems, suffering from high fevers and, at one time, was thought to have tuberculosis.

While praying before a crucifix, Padre Pio received the stigmata at the age of 31 and bore the wounds of Christ for fifty years. He was the first priest ever to be so blessed. The doctor who examined Padre Pio was unable to detect any natural cause for the wounds. When Padre Pio died in 1968, the wounds completely disappeared. In fact, there was not even any scaring of the skin, which was completely renewed, fulfilling a prediction that Padre Pio had made 50 years earlier that upon his death the wounds would heal.

Word of Padre Pio spread and after World War II, many traveled to see him both out of curiosity and piety. He was an extremely popular confessor and spent 18 hours a day in the confessional with people who came from all over the world to confess their sins to him. He possessed the gift of reading the hearts the penitents and he knew exactly the right words to say to bring healing, counsel, and encouragement to the sinner and to bring him closer to God.Padre Pio's humility -- manifested through his constant devotion to the Eucharist -- was impressive. He would often remark, "I only want to be a friar who prays."

Padre Pio entered Eternal Life on September 23, 1968 and was canonized on June 16, 2002 by Pope John Paul II.  He died a few days after the fiftieth anniversary of his receiving the stigmata, and over 100,000 people attended his funeral. The pilgrimage town of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he lived for nearly all his life, is visited by approximately 8 million people a year.

A Few of My Favorite Padre Pio Quotes

Prayer is the best armor we have, it is the key which opens the heart of God.

Pray, hope and don't worry. Anxiety doesn't help at all. Our Merciful Lord will listen to your prayer.

Don't spend your energies on things that generate worry, anxiety and anguish. Only one thing is necessary: Lift up your spirit, and love God.

Our present life is given only to gain the eternal one and if we don't think about it, we build our affections on what belongs to this world, where our life is transitory. When we have to leave it we are afraid and become agitated. Believe me, to live happily in this pilgrimage; we have to aim at the hope of arriving at our Homeland, where we will stay eternally. Meanwhile we have to believe firmly that God calls us to Himself and follows us along the path towards Him. He will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for our greater good. He knows who we are and He will hold out His paternal hand to us during difficulties, so that nothing prevents us from running to Him swiftly. But to enjoy this grace we must have complete trust in Him.

Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.

You must speak to Jesus also with the heart, besides with the lips; indeed, in certain cases you must speak to Him only with the heart.

Oh, how precious time is! Blessed are those who know how to make good use of it. Oh, if only all could understand how precious time is, undoubtedly everyone would do his best to spend it in a praiseworthy manner!

The gates of Heaven are open for all creatures. (who repent) Remember Mary Magdalene.

A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

My heart feels as if it were being drawn by a superior force each morning just before uniting with Him in the Blessed Sacrament. I have such a thirst and hunger before receiving Him that it's a wonder I don't die of anxiety. I was hardly able to reach the Divine Prisoner in order to celebrate Mass. When Mass ended I remained with Jesus to render Him thanks. My thirst and hunger do not diminish after I have received Him in the Blessed Sacrament, but rather, increase steadily. Oh, how sweet was the conversation I held with Paradise this morning. The Heart of Jesus and my own, if you will pardon my expression, fused. They were no longer two hearts beating but only one. My heart disappeared as if it were a drop in the ocean.

Prayer for the Intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Dear God, You graciously blessed Your servant, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, with the gifts of the Spirit. You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and death of Your Son. Endowed with the with the gift of discernment, St. Pio labored endlessly in the confessional for the salvation of souls. with reverence and intense devotion in the celebration of Mass, he invited countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Through the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, I confidently beseech You to grant me the grace of (here state your petition). Amen. Glory be to the Father...(three times).

For more information on St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, go here.You will find some beautiful black and white photographs of him here. For favorite prayers of St. Pio of Pietrelcina, as well as prayers for his intercession, go here. To read his writings, go here. Find out more about the stigmata and his other mystical gifts, such as bilocation. St. Pio also had great devotion to his guardian angel. 

1 comment:

Elena said...

Great quotes Jean. I really needed to read them today!