DEATH OF PADRE PIO
Padre Pio, the Capuchin friar well known over the world and spoken of as the priest with special supernatural gifts, died on September 23rd at 2:30 in the morning, in the Monastery of Our Lady of Graces, in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. He was 81 years old.
Born Francesco Forgione on the 25th of May, 1887, at Pietrelcina, Padre Pio was inclined from his childhood to a spirit of prayer and recollection, together with a profound sense of sin. At the age of 15 he entered the Capuchin Order of the Friars Minor, and notwithstanding his rather frail health, lived with exactness and in a joyful spirit the severe Rule of the Order. He was ordained a priest on August 10, 1910.
Eight years later, on September the 20th, 1918, a confrere found Father Pio unconscious behind the high altar of the church. His habit was bloodstained and in his hands and feet were bleeding wounds. Despite efforts to keep the matter secret, knowledge of the humble Franciscan Father who had received on the same day on which the Church celebrates the Stigmata of St. Francis, a similar gracenamely to carry on his body the wounds of the Crucifiedspread to the outside world.
Gradually at first but progressively in greater numbers, pilgrims began to flock to the village, desiring to meet Padre Pio, to receive his blessing, to hear his words of counsel and to go to confession.
Following World War II, with the offerings that came from all parts of the world, Padre Pio promoted the construction of a large modern hospital to relieve the sufferings of the poor people, particularly those of the surrounding area. Gradually, too, "Prayer Groups" began to form, the nucleus of which began with persons who promised to pray for Padre Pio's Intentions. The pious Institute spread to all parts of the world, and on the Friday before Padre Pio's death, many representatives of the Movement from Switzerland, Austria, England, America, India, Brazil and France had come to San Giovanni Rotondo as an organized convention to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Padre Pio's receiving the Stigmata.
They were there, united in prayer, to receive the message of his life and of his death.
Weekly Edition in English
3 October 1968, page 4
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