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Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

The man who was until very recently known as "Padre Pio" (now SAINT Padre Pio) was born in Pietrelcina, a small country town in southern Italy on 25 May 1887, and named Francisco, surname Forgione.

Even in early childhood, it was obvious that he was deeply spiritual, and at the age of five he devoutly consecrated himself to Jesus.

When he was 10 years old, his parents first learned of his desire to become a priest. A private tutor was needed for him to be of an education standard to train for the priesthood, and so his father journeyed to USA in search of work to be able to provide the extra money needed.

At age 23, on August 10,1910 he was ordained a priest.

Less than a month later, both Jesus and Mary appeared to him, and gave him the five wounds known as the stigmata. He asked Jesus to take them away, as they would be a hindrance to him, and for a while that request was answered.

He later became seriously ill and was sent home to recuperate.

On 20 September 1918 he again received the Stigmata, this time visible, and his hands and feet and side bled for the next 50 years, causing him much physical pain and even embarassment.

Between 1924-1931 various statements of the Holy See denied the supernaturality of his phenomena, and on the feast of Corpus Christi in 1931 he was ordered to desist from all activities except Mass, which had to be celebrated in private.

How hard must it have been for this exceptional man of God to obey those commands, which he knew in his heart were wrong!

In early 1933 Pope Pius XI ordered the Holy Office to lift the ban on his saying Mass in public, saying, " I have not been badly disposed toward Padre Pio, but I have been badly informed!"

He had received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, bilocation (the ability to be in two places at the one time) Perfume (often people noticed a beautiful perfume which surrounded him at times), discernment ( he was often able to remind penitents of sins they had forgotten, without them telling him.)

He died on 23 September 1968, and when his body was examined it was discovered that the wounds he had borne for 50 years were now completely healed.

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