St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), OFM Cap
Feast Day: September 23
Born: May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy
Died: September 23, 1968, in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
Born Francesco Forgione, Padre Pio grew up in a family of farmers in southern Italy. At the age of 15, Francesco joined the Capuchins and took the name of Pio. He was ordained in 1910 and was drafted during World War I. After being discharged, he was assigned to the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo.
On September 20, 1918, as he was making his thanksgiving after Mass, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When the vision ended, he had the stigmata in his hands, feet and side. Padre Pio rarely left the friary after he received the stigmata, but busloads of people soon began coming to see him. Each day, Padre Pio heard confessions for hours and blessed the sick and all who came to see him. Many of those he heard confess say that Padre Pio knew details of their lives they had never mentioned.
Padre Pio saw Jesus in all the sick and suffering. At his urging, a hospital was built on nearby Mount Gargano. A number of people have reported cures they believe were received through the intercession of Padre Pio. Those who assisted at his Masses came away edified.
Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968, and was beatified in 1999. On June 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio in front of more than 300,000 people in St. Peter's Square. He is the patron saint of Pietrelcina, Italy, civil defense volunteers, adolescents, stress relief, January blues and Italy.
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