This worthy follower of Saint
Francis of Assisi was born on 25 May 1887 at Pietrelcina in the Archdiocese of Benevento, the son of Grazio
Forgione and Maria Giuseppa De Nunzio. He
was baptized the next day and given the name Francesco. At the age of twelve
he received the
Sacrament of Confirmation and made his First Holy Communion.
On 6 January 1903, at the age of sixteen, he entered the novitiate of the
Capuchin Friars at Morcone, where on 22 January he took the
and the name Brother Pio. At the end of his novitiate year he took simple
vows, and on 27 January 1907 made his solemn
After he was ordained priest on 10 August 1910 at Benevento, he stayed at
home with his family until 1916 for health reasons. In September
year he was sent to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo and remained there
until his death.
Filled with love of God and love of neighbour, Padre Pio lived to the full
the vocation to work for the redemption of man, in accordance with
special mission which marked his entire life and which he exercised through
the spiritual direction of the faithful, the sacramental
penitents and the celebration of the Eucharist. The pinnacle of his
apostolic activity was the celebration of Holy Mass.
The faithful who took
part witnessed the summit and fullness of his spirituality.
On the level of social charity, he committed himself to relieving the pain
and suffering of many families, chiefly through the foundation of the
Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (House for the Relief of Suffering), opened on 5
For the Servant of God, faith was life: he willed everything and did
everything in the light of faith.
He was assiduously devoted to prayer. He passed the day and a large part of
the night in conversation with God.
He would say: "In books we seek God, in
prayer we find him. Prayer is the key which opens God's heart". Faith led
him always to
accept God's mysterious will.
He was always immersed in supernatural realities. Not only was he himself a
man of hope and total trust in God, but by word and example he
these virtues to all who approached him.
The love of God filled him, and satisfied his every desire; charity was the
chief inspiration of his day: to love God and to help others to love
him. His special concern was to grow
in charity and to lead others to do so.
He demonstrated to the full his love of neighbour by welcoming, for more
than fifty years, countless people who had recourse to his ministry
confessional, his counsel and his consolation.
He was almost besieged: they sought him in church, in the sacristy, in the
friary. And he
to everyone, rekindling faith, dispensing grace, bringing light. But
especially in the poor, the suffering and the sick he saw the
Christ, and he gave himself particularly to them.
He exercised to an exemplary degree the virtue of prudence, acting and
counselling in the light of God.
His concern was the glory of God and the good of souls. He treated everyone
with justice, frankness and great respect.
The virtue of fortitude shone in him. He understood very early in life that
his would be the way of the Cross, and he accepted it at once with
and out of love. For many years, he experienced spiritual sufferings. For
years he endured the pains of his wounds with admirable
accepted in silence the many interventions of his Superiors, and in the face
of calumnies he always remained silent.
He habitually practised mortification in order to gain the virtue of
temperance, in keeping with the Franciscan style. He was temperate
attitude and in his way of life.
Conscious of the commitments which he had undertaken when he entered the
consecrated life, he observed with generosity the vows he had
was obedient in all things to the commands of his Superiors, even when they
were burdensome. His obedience was supernatural
in intention, universal in
its scope and complete in its execution. He lived the spirit of poverty with
total detachment from self, from earthly
goods, from his own comfort and
from honours. He always had a great love for the virtue of chastity. His behaviour was modest in all
situations and with all people.
He sincerely thought of himself as useless, unworthy of God's gifts, full of
weakness and infirmity, and at the same time blessed with divine
Amid so much admiration around him, he would say: “I only want to be a poor
friar who prays”.
From his youth, his health was not very robust, and especially in the last
years of his life it declined rapidly. Sister Death took him well
and serene on 23 September 1968 at the age of eighty-one. An extraordinary
gathering of people attended his funeral.
On 20 February 1971, barely three years after the death of the Servant of
God, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the Superiors of the Capuchin
Order, said of him: “Look what fame he had,
what a worldwide following gathered around him! But why? Perhaps because he
philosopher? Because he was wise? Because he had resources at his
disposal? Because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to
and was – it is not easy to say it – one who bore the wounds of our Lord. He
was a man of prayer and suffering”.
Even during his lifetime, he enjoyed a vast reputation for sanctity, because
of his virtues, his spirit of prayer, sacrifice and total
dedication to the
good of souls.
In the years following his death, his reputation for sanctity and miracles
grew steadily, and became established in the Church, all over the
among all kinds of people.
God thus showed the Church his desire to glorify on earth his faithful
servant. In a short time the Capuchin Order took the steps prescribed by
canon law to begin the Cause of Beatification and Canonization. After
examining the case, the Holy See, in accordance with the norm of the
Proprio “Sanctitas Clarior”, granted the nihil obstat on 29 November 1982.
The Archbishop of Manfredonia was thus enabled to introduce
the Cause and
set up the informative process (1983- 1990). On 7 December 1990, the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized its
When the Positio had been completed, there was the usual discussion on whether the Servant of God had exercised the
virtues to a heroic degree. On
13 June 1997 the Special Meeting of the Theological Consultors was held and
gave a positive judgement.
In the Ordinary Session on 21 October 1997, with
Bishop Andrea Maria Erba of Velletri-Segni, the Proposer of the Cause,
together with the
Cardinals and Bishops, recognized that Padre Pio da
Pietrelcina had lived to a heroic degree the theological, cardinal and
On 18 December 1997, in the presence of Pope John Paul II, the Decree on
heroic virtue was promulgated.
For the Beatification of Padre Pio, the Postulation presented to the
competent Congregation the healing of Signora Consiglia De Martino of
Salerno. The regular canonical process concerning this case was held at the
Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Salerno-Campagna-
July 1996 to June 1997 and the case was recognized as valid by a decree
dated 26 September 1997.
On 30 April 1998 at the Congregation for the Causes
of Saints the Medical Board examined the miracle, and on 22 June 1998 the Special
Meeting of Theological Consultors gave its judgment. On 20 October
1998 the Ordinary Congregation of the Cardinals and Bishops belonging to
Congregation, together with the Proposer, Bishop Andrea M. Erba, was held in
the Vatican. On 21 December 1998 in the presence of Pope
John Paul II the
Decree on the miracle was promulgated.
On May 2nd, 1999, Pope John Paul II beatified Padre Pio in ceremonies at the
Padre Pio was canonised at St. Peter's
Basilica in Rome on June 16th, 2002.
HERE for Prayer
to Saint Padre Pio