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St. Pio of Pietrelcina was born in the southern Italy to a farmer and his wife. He was very devout even as a very young child. In later life he said that he spoke with baby Jesus, Mary and his Guardian Angle when he was a l ittle boy. He decided to turn his entire life to Christ after witnessing the miracle of a disabled child running to his mother. At 15 he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars in Morcone and joined the order at 19. He was ordained on August 22, 190 at the age of 22. To pay for his studies, Pio's father went to America to find work.
As a young priest he began to notice pains in his hands and feet and was afraid of what that might mean. While praying before a cross on September 20, 1918 he had a vision of Christ coming towards him bleeding from all of his wounds. When Pio became aware again, he too was pain from his hands, feet. Later these wounds would bleed too. Near the end of World War II, Padre Pio offered himself in sacrifice to end the war, and received the side wound as well.
When Padre Pio was visited by a young Father Karol Wojtyla, (who later became Pope John Paul II), he admitted that the wound that bothered him the most was his shoulder wound - a wound that was never publicized and that no one else knew about. This was the wound and suffering Christ received while carrying his cross.
As dramatic as the stigmata were, Padre Pio was most revered for his words of grace in the confessional, his ability to read the soul of a confessor, his unique gift with language and prophecy. He died in 1968.
Favorite famous quotes by Padre Pio:
“Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God's heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.”
“The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat.”
" Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”
“Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the Devil. Remember this forever; it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience, since this shows that he is not inside your will.”
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I always marvel when God uses flowers in reaching people. I was reading Stories of Padre Pio and came across the story of Katharina asking Padre Pio's intercession to God for a sign of flowers, and then having an atheist lawyer, known for being very stingy with the beautiful flowers in his garden give her a beautiful bouquet!
More info on Padre Pio and his battles with the devil.