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
Francesco Forgione grew up in a family of farmers but at the age of 15, he left to join the Capuchins. At that time, he took the name Pio. In 1910, he was ordained and, after serving in World War I, was assigned to the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo. On September 20, 1918, Padre Pio had a vision of Jesus. When his vision ended, he had the stigmata on his hands, feet and side.
As his story spread, busloads of people began coming to see Padre Pio. Each day, he 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. A number of people also reported cures they believe were received through his intercession.
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.