Bilocation and Odor
phenomenon of bilocation is one of the most remarkable gifts attributed to Padre Pio. His
appearances on various of the continents are attested by numerous eye witnesses, who
either saw him or smelled the odors characteristically associated with his presence,
described by some as roses and by others as tobacco. The phenomenon of odor (sometimes
called the odor of sanctity) is itself well established in Padre Pio's case. The odor was
especially strong from the blood coming from his wounds. Investigation showed that he used
absolutely no fragrances or anything that could produce these odors. The odors often
occurred when people called upon his intercession in prayer and continue to this day.
the most remarkable of the documented cases of bilocation was the Padre's appearance in
the air over San Giovanni Rotondo during World War II. While southern Italy remained in
Nazi hands American bombers were given the job of attacking the city of San Giovanni
Rotondo. However, when they appeared over the city and prepared to unload their munitions
a brown-robed friar appeared before their aircraft. All attempts to release the bombs
failed. In this way Padre Pio kept his promise to the citizens that their town would be
spared. Later on, when an American airbase was established at Foggia a few miles away, one
of the pilots of this incident visited the friary and found to his surprise the little
friar he had seen in the air that day over San Giovanni.
to how Padre Pio with God's help accomplished such feats, the closest he ever came to an
explanation of bilocation was to say that it occurred "by an extension of his
The Testimony of Padre Carmelo Durante
the good of' souls, Our Lord gave the Venerable Padre Pio of' Pietrelcina many gifts,
amongst these the gift of bilocation, which enables a person to be present in two places
at the same time.
however, must not be confused as some do with ubiquity, which means omnipresence, namely
being present everywhere at the same time, which belongs only to God.
this said, I will relate a few cases of bilocation concerning the Padre.
the end of 1954 I was the Superior of the religious community that included Padre Pio.
With the aim of' gathering information on the Padre's first years in San Giovanni Rotondo,
from 28 July 1916 on, I decided to question the Padre's first spiritual children and
organised some meetings
meeting in town: 14 December 1954
the first meeting we were ten in all. The Ventrella sisters, the Pompilio sisters,
Filomena Fini, Rosinella Gisolfi in Placentino, Rachele Russo, Rachelina Gisolfi and Nina
Campanile were present
knew from Mrs. Gisolfi's friends that she had had the privilege - a well documented fact -
of seeing Padre Pio in bilocation from the first years of spiritual direction.
the meeting, she suddenly announced in a whisper that the Padre was present.
"Everyone was happy," I noted. Like all those present, I believed the
announcement, but forgive me if I say so women are known for their daydreaming. So
I wanted to get to the bottom of this. This was my first case of bilocation and I wanted
to know how it worked.
same evening, when I returned to the friary, I asked one or two confrères (naturally
without revealing the true motive, which I do today), what the Padre had done in the late
answered: "The usual: he conducted the evening Benediction, then he received his
friends and we chatted together.'' I was afraid to ask the Padre himself about the
bilocation, being such a delicate matter.
meeting: 10 January 1955
Padre made another appearance. This time when I returned to the friary, after I had
questioned my confrères on the Padre's activities that evening and received the usual
answer, I plucked up my courage and decided to question the Padre himself'.
some of' you might wonder why I said "plucked up my courage," as if I was
afraid. If so you certainly have not had the grace or the difficulty of living with an
saints (and I have reflected on this so often) are like the sensitive mimosa flower which
as soon as it is touched, closes in on itself. More than once in fact, I noticed when I
questioned the dear Padre on personal matters that it was a great effort for him to
answer! In fact, once when we were alone in his cell I asked him outright: "Padre Pio
I would like to see the wounds on your feet and side!" And completely taken aback and
mortified, he looked at me with two imploring tearful eyes, like those of a child and
said: "But! But you don't really mean that?" I immediately felt sorry and said:
"No! no! Padre don't worry: I didn't mean it!" And everything ended there. But
how often after that did I regret what I had done.
had learnt my lesson, and that evening I was afraid. So, I repeat, I plucked up my courage
and when I returned I went up to him quietly at the entrance of his cell.
"Ah! You're back!", he said as soon as he saw me, as if he
knew nothing. I wish to note that Rosinella had told me that Padre Pio often accompanied
me on my journeys in the car etc., without my knowing. So who knows how often he must have
pulled my leg in asking me things which he already knew.
evening I replied at once, also so as to get the conversation going: "Yes Father, I
have returned; everything went well. Your spiritual children are very happy. But I would
like to ask you one thing!" And he: "Yes, what is it?" I began:
"Padre, Rosinella..." and then I lost courage.
he, with a strategy all his own (who could ever understand the Padre!): "Rosinella?
Is she not well?" If anyone I was the one who felt not well now! "No, Padre, she
is well." "And So?" he went on. I took the plunge: "Padre, Rosinella
said that you are always present at our meetings!" And quite untroubled he answered:
"Well? Don't you want me? Don't you want me to come to these meetings?"
were his exact words. I leave you to make up your minds.
same happened at our third meeting on 26 January. This time when I questioned him he
answered: "Yes, of course I was there!" as if to say: "Why, you don't
another occasion it was he himself who asked me: "Aren't you going to ask me this
time if I came?" Such subtlety! And I answered: "But Padre by now I am certain
that you always come, so I don't ask you anymore!" And with the kindness of a father
he said: "Yes, I accompany you always and everywhere!"
one meeting an unusual thing happened. At a certain point a few members of the group began
to speak badly about some people. It got a little out of hand when suddenly Rosinella
frightened exclaimed: "Father Guardian, Padre Pio has an angry face!" We were
all scared and quickly stopped and not without some embarrassment and self accusation
began to speak well of these people. A few minutes later I asked Rosinella: "Now how
does Padre Pio look?" And she: "He looks calm!" We were happy again, and
had learnt our lesson to not speak badly of people.
"I don't need the permission of the Superior"
was my habit, in the evening before coming down for the evening meal, to dally around the
cell door of the Padre to wish him good night.
this particular evening the Padre Pio seemed in a hurry, but I did not pay much attention
to the fact. Then at a certain point in the conversation he said to me sweetly: "This
evening I am in a hurry because I must make a long journey.
"Where must you go?" I asked.
he repeated: "I must make a long journey," then after a little he added with a
smile: "And to make this journey I don't need the permission of the Superior."
is necessary to make clear that every friar according to the Franciscan rule cannot
undertake a journey without the Superior's permission.
naturally on his journey in bilocation the Padre had no need to follow the common rule
because he had the extraordinary permission from the Superior of all superiors, Christ our
that evening, after he had spoken to me, all I could do was kiss his hand and bid him a
"When I go..."
day in the refectory we were talking of this and that.
remember that in the conversation I was holding forth about a fact then unheard of: an
aeroplane - I don't remember of which airline - had made the journey non-stop between Rome
and New York in only six hours. To me and the others it seemed something incredible!
Padre who until then had kept silent, interrupted in the middle and asked: "How long?
How many hours, did you say?"
answered, with increasing marvel: "Padre, six hours and what is more non-stop!"
Padre also marveled over the fact but to the side exclaimed: "Six hours! Good
heavens, but that is a long time! When I go it takes me only a second."
asked him to explain himself, but he would say no more and only repeated: "I told
you! I told you!"
"Six hours" in contrast to "a second" is indeed a
his mysterious "second" was that of a man in bilocation!
"I was in America"
a note from my meetings with the first spiritual children of the Servant of God, I relate
the following, mentioning also in passing that they were Padre Pio's first Prayer Group.
those first years, before Christmas his spiritual children would meet in the parlour of
the friary with the Padre to prepare themselves worthily for the celebration of the feast.
one year - 1918? - while we were there, at a certain point the Padre seemed to go into a
little afraid, his spiritual children tried to wake him up, calling him by name and even
shaking him, but it was of no use.
about an hour, he finally came to but a little mortified.
next day, to a spiritual daughter who asked him: "Where were you?" he simply
answered: "I was in America." And everything ended there without further ado.
Visit to the Holy Land
evening, while we were both outside the door of his cell as usual, talking about one thing
and another, suddenly the Padre confided to me: "I have to make a visit in the Holy
Land." And I quickly responded: "Why don't you bring me with you, Padre?"
to which he replied: "No because you would be poorly impressed!"
the time I did not understand what the Padre meant wondering what reason there could be
for me to be poorly impressed by the homeland of Jesus.
But many years
later, I went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land and I understood the words of the dear Padre,
seeing the medley of religions in those holy places.
example: to think that the room of the Last Supper is looked after by Moslems! The Last
Supper room - the heart of the Catholic Church where the Eucharist and Priesthood were
instituted - abandoned in the hands of the followers of Mahomet!
on Calvary - the site of our Redemption - an orthodox priest was selling candles close to
the site of the Cross!
Padre, as always, was right: I really was poorly impressed!"
"What about the third at the end?"
I said elsewhere, during the Second World War I would usually spend the summer holidays
from the Gregorian University of Rome in the friary of
Giovanni Rotondo, close to the beloved Padre. They were especially happy days.
year on 25 July he asked me if I could go the following day to celebrate Mass in a little
Church in the country dedicated to Saint Anne near the Amendola airport.
I willingly accepted.
next day I arrived early by bus and began to hear the confessions of the farmers of the
area and afterwards celebrated Mass in the little church to everyone's satisfaction.
I returned, the beloved Padre asked me what the church was like. I described it to him:
small, rectangular with two windows one on each side.
this point, he interrupted: "Two windows! "What about the third at the end,
didn't you see it."
remembered at once and embarrassed said: "But Padre, you who haven't been there know
more than I who have! You are making fun of me asking me what you already know!"
fuss, ignoring the insinuation of his bilocation, he said his intention was not to make
fun of me, but only to complete the description of the church.
humility and simplicity in those words aimed at hiding the gift from God of bilocation.
that "third window" gave him away.
in the friary I learnt in fact that that morning of 26 July the Padre had carried out his
apostolate as usual.
here was further evidence of that privilege enjoyed by the Padre of being present in two
places at the same time.
[From the Voice of Padre Pio, November 1998, Friary of Our Lady of Grace, 71013
San Giovanni Rotondo, (FG), Italy. Used with permission of: The National Center for Padre
Pio, 2213 Old Route 100, Barto, PA 19504, through which a subscription may be obtained.]