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St. Spotlight
St. Padre Pio
Canonized June 16, 2002

Feast Day: September 23

Born: May 25, 1887

Died: September 23, 1968

St. Pio was born Francesco Forgione in Pietrelcina,Italy. At an early age he went to the Capuchin Friars. He received the stigmata, the five wounds of Christ, and drew much controversy. Many claimed the stigmata was fake and that Padre Pio was a fraud. He suffered greatly as church authorities forbid him to say public Mass for a long period of time while the validity of the stigmata was examined. Even though this was very difficult for him, he accepted it in obedience and humility. Eventually he was allowed to say Mass in public again, and people came from all over the world to see him in San Giovanni Rotundo, where he stayed most of his life. One of these people reportedly was a young priest named Karol Wojtyla, to whom Padre Pio said, "Someday you will be Pope." Of course, Karol Wojtyla eventually became Pope John Paul II. He was famous for his Confessions, in which he could often see into a person's soul and know their sins. Some have said that he heard over a million Confessions in his lifetime.
One cannot understate the amount of suffering Padre Pio experienced in his life. From illnesses in which his temperature would rise over 120 degrees, to the pain of the stigmata, he always accepted his suffering. The most grievous of his sufferings was probably the spiritual attacks he would recieve. The devil saw how good he was and often attacked him, whether by temptation or by throwing him across the room. When he was attacked in this way, he would say, "Bring me my weapon!", meaning the Rosary. Padre Pio was often called "The Living Rosary", for he would constantly pray it. He had a tremendous love for Our Lady. When he died, the stigmata vanished, as he had prayed it would because he didn't want the attention. Millions of people were present at his canonization on June 16, 2002.

For more about St. Pio:
Padre Pio homepage

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