António dos Santos
St Padre Pio was born in Pietrelcina (South Italy) on May 25, 1887. His name was Francisco Forgione. The name Frei Pio of Pietrelcina he received in 1903, when he entered the Capuchin Order. He was ordained a priest on August 10, 1910.
This brief introduction to Padre Pio’s life has its source on the Capuchin Friars. St Padre Pio lived a life of very strict personal demands in the fight against addictions; simple in dress and food and extremely careful to avoid acts that might offend God, the brothers or anyone else.
Frei Pio is considered a great mystic. There were many phenomena, humanly inexplicable, that strongly marked his existence. He had a deep love for Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin, and a great intimacy with his guardian angel.
As with St Francis of Assisi, the crucified Lord wanted to share with him the pains of His Passion, granting him the grace of stigmata, on September 20, 1915. This was the most remarkable mystical event in the life of Frei Pio. Early on, he was endowed with countless gifts, one could almost say that he possessed all the gifts of the Holy Spirit – he had the gift of seeing and communicating with Jesus, Our Lady, the Angels, the “Heaven”; the gift of prophecy; the gift of discernment of spirits; the gift of bilocation; the gift of healings; the gift of conversions; the gift of perfumes, among others.
His devoted pilgrims came from all corners of the world. They went to the Convent of San Giovanni Rotondo to attend the celebration of Holy Mass; not only for the remarkable and mystical experience they lived, as the desire to confess and have an intimate moment with Frei Pio who knew each one by name before anyone revealed it.
Padre Pio felt a mystery to himself. When he was prevented from celebrating the Eucharist with the faithful and attending confessions, he confided to someone close: “To take away the ministry of the altar and confessions from a priest means to kill him!”
Already considered a saint in life he transformed countless lives. He produced fascination around him, and no one was indifferent to his gaze, his words and the love he had for each one.
He died on September 23, 1968. On 2 May 1999, in the course of a solemn concelebrated Mass in St Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II by his apostolic authority beatified the Venerable Servant of God Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, naming 23 September as the date of his liturgical feast. He was canonized on June 16, 2002, by the Holy Father John Paul II.
New movie of St Padre Pio
As reported last August by ACI Digital, American actor Shia LaBeouf, famous for the films in the Transformers saga, appeared hugging a group of Capuchin friars in a video on Instagram, and said: “Me, Abel Ferrara and William Dafoe we are producing a film called ‘Padre Pio’ about the great Padre Pio.” The news speaks of a video released on August 13 by the Capuchin friar Hai Ho, in which LaBeouf referred: “We are trying to get as close as possible to the precise description of what it is to be a friar. And I try to get as close as possible to the human relationship, tangible and palpable that this man had with Christ…”. In the video, the 35-year-old actor is reported to have said: “I am completely immersed in something much bigger than me…”.
According to director Abel Ferrara, the film will address the youth of St Pio of Pietrelcina.