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Biography of Padre Pio

Biography - Canonisation - Day in the life of - Middle Years - Death of Padre Pio - Wounds & Odours - Crypt - Spiritual Children
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A day in the life of Padre Pio
This represents an imaginary day in the life of Padre Pio but as the routine of the
friary did not change much it would have been very much a typical day.
Each picture has a brief commentary with an interesting anecdote or quote.
Click on any image for a larger picture
Padre Pio

Padre Pio's day would begin about 2:30 a.m. when an alarm clock would ring in his cell. He would make the sign of the cross, kiss his rosary, glance at the image of Jesus and Mary and then say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the new day. He would get up three hours before the other friars to prepare himself suitably for the celebration of Mass. I say he would get up and not wake up because he slept very little.

Fra Modestino of Pietrelcina, in his book "Testimonies of Padre Pio", recounts: "One evening in 1964, I was alone with the Padre by his bed. Suddenly he said to me: `Listen, my son, pray to God that I am able to sleep. My eyes hurt and I am exhausted. It is three years that I have not slept".

Padre Pio saying Mass

Padre Pio at 5:00 a.m. would be at the altar. Crowds of people anxious to find a place near his altar would already be waiting for him. The Eucharistic Sacrifice would last more than an hour. Immersed in the divine mysteries, Padre Pio would re-live Jesus' Passion. His dialogue with the eternal was a time of evident suffering, great emotion, and mystical calm. The holy Mass was "the fount and goal", "the heart and centre" of his life. And the people saw in him the living image of Christ, the light of the Resurrection.

A spiritual daughter, one day asked Padre Pio: "Father what is your Mass?" The Padre answered: "A sacred mingling of Christ's Passion. My responsibility is unique in the world." And on another occasion: "Padre what do you suffer during the Mass?" And he answered: "Everything that Jesus suffered in His Passion, but unworthily, and as far as it is possible for a creature".
(Fr. Tarcisio da Cervinara, "The Holy Mass of Padre Pio").

Padre Pio praying

At the end of holy Mass Padre Pio would return to the sacristy, preceded and followed by a group of men who wanted to touch him and see him from close up. Without talking and still immersed in the divine mysteries just celebrated, he would renwve the sacred vestments and would recollect himself in intense prayer of thanksgiving. He would be aware of nothing around him. If he could, he would have remained for hours in that intimate dialogue. And when he tasted all the sweetness of the immaculate flesh of Jesus, received in the sacrament, he felt himself in paradise!

Padre Pio at the end of holy Mass, never omitted to do his thanksgiving. And our Lord would gratify him with marvellous experiences. In fact, to Padre Agostino, his confessor, he confided: "Yesterday, only God knows how much sweetness I experienced, especially after holy Mass, so much so that I still feel them. My head and heart were on fire; but it was fire that did me good. My mouth tasted all the sweetness of that immaculate flesh of the son of God". (Letters I).

Padre Pio in confession

After havinq heard a Mass in thanksgiving in the internal chapel of the friary, Padre Pro accompanied by a fellow friar, would go to the sacristy to hear the confessions of the men. Then he would go into the church to hear the women's confessions until 9:00 a.m. The confessional represented for the Saint of Pietrelcina, the privileged seat from which he could live his specuzl vocation to reconcile his brothers and sisters to God, but it was also a source of indescribable suffering having to hear how his Jesus was offended

One day Saint Pio of Pietrelcina said to Don Domenico Labellarte a devout spiritual child: "You must know, my son, that I tremble every time I am about to go down to hear confessions." The good Don Domenico surprised and curious asked him: "Why is that Father?" Padre Pio answered: "I tremble because I must minister Christ's blood!"

Padre Pio giving out communion

At 9:30 a.m., with a surplice and stole, Padre Pio would distribute Communion to those penitents just absolved of their sins and those other faithful who wished to receive the sacred species from his wounded hands. He was happy to see so many pilgrims approach "the sacred banquet of the divine Iamb" that he considered such a powerful remedy against human weakness, and a "great means to aspire to holy perfection". He desired however that all approach the eucharistic table with the desire and the intention to remove from their hearts all that displeases the One who becomes bread for us.

To his spiritual daughter Raffaelina Cerase, Padre Pio wrote: "Let us approach to receive the bread of angels with great faith and with a great flame of love in our hearts. Let us await this most tender lover of our souls in order to be consoled in this life with the kiss of His mouth. Happy are we if we succeed in receiving from the Lord the consolation of this kiss in the present life!". (Letters II).

Padre Pio greeting people

From the first years that he finally settled in San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio was surrounded by a substantial group of spiritual children. In the visiting room of the friary, he would hold weekly group meetings with them in which he would give instructions and advice on the religious life. However, some of them, whenever the occasion arose, would approach him privately and ask him for further counsel. And Padre Pia would answer them all, happy to see the fruits of his teachings.

Padre Pio would exhort his spiritual children to persevere, to be confident and to be calm, He would repeat to them: "Be firm in your resolutions; stay in the ship in which He has placed you, and let the storm and hurricane come. Long live Jesus!; you will not perish. He may sleep, but in the right place and at the right time He will awaken to restore the calm. Do not fear, you are walking on the sea amidst the wind and waves, but with Jesus". (Letters III).

Padre Pio greeting people

Padre Pio surrounded by the crowds and all the pushing and even fanatical outbursts that be always firmly scolded, would successfully reach the protection of the cloister. On the way, women and men of every age and social standing would be waiting for him, in the sacristy, in the corridor or in the "St Francis hall", to ask him for advice, a prayer, a blessing; to give him a letter or an offering to give vent to their troubles, to recount their sufferings. And the stigmatic of the Gargano would give to all, words of comfort, spiritual direction and paternal exhortations.

While Padre Pio was going by, a voice called from the crowd: "Padre, what must I tell my sister, Rose?". The woman convinced that she could obtain from him an answer... direct from heaven, almost shouting repeated: "Padre, what must I tell my sister Rose?" Padre Pio, to repress any fanaticism, answered: "Tell her that she will become a carnation..." and indeed she soon later met and married a man called Carnation. (Gennaro Preziuso, Padre Pio, Apostle of the Confessional).

Padre Pio prating in refectory

At lunch time the friars summoned by the bell would unite in the refectory. Padre Pio would join them a little later having been delayed in the blessing of a car in the garden or held up by someone talking. Arrived at his place, he would kneel down with his arms outstretched, to thank providence for the food he was about to eat. His prayer would continue until he ate a few mouthfuls. He would then pass his plate to the friar sitting next to him and he would remain to listen to the reading of the Gospel or the Franciscan Rule.

A fellow friar asked Padre Pio: "Padre , how are you able to live on so little food?" The Padre answered: "There are in nature fertile and non fertile fields. For the former, one grain of wheat will produce much; for the latter not even with the best fertilisers will any grain be produced. It must be the same with the human body or at least it is so for me." (Testimony from the Process of Canonisation of Padre Pio).

Padre Pio at Mass

Padre Pio would make holy the short pause for rest with the reading of Vespers and Compline. Then he would remain a few minutes on the veranda of the friary, with his inseparable rosary in his hands and his thoughts always turned to God. At 3:00 p.m. he was again in the sacristy to hear the confessions of the men. At 5:•00 p.m., from the choir loft, he would. join in the communal recitation of the rosary. At 5:30 p.m. he would lead the evening Benediction and recite the prayer to Mary Most Holy composed by St. Alphonsus de Liguori.

In reciting every evening "the prayer to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament" Padre Pio would be deeply moved, even to tears. To Padre Agostino of San Marco in Lamis he wrote: "I often ask myself if any people exist who do not feel their breast burning with divine fire, especially when they are close to him in the Blessed Sacrament. This seems impossible to me, especially in the case of a priest or a religious". (Letters I,).

Padre Pio with people in the garden

Once Vespers were over; Padre Pio, when the weather was good, would go into the garden for some fresh air. He would walk along the path between the row of pine trees, or he would watch a game of bowling played by the friars. Then, in the summer, in the shade of a tree, or in the winter in a room of the friary, he would spend half an hour in conversation. To those present he would bring joy and smiles with his sense of humour and with his anecdotes that had a moral lesson he would give insights into the spiritual life.

Padre Pio once recounted that at Foggia, in the church of St. Anne, a fellow Friar told him loudly that a doctor friend was arriving to see him. An elderly lady who had just confessed to Padre Pio, asked him at once if this friend could visit her daughter who was ill. Padre Pio answered her that the friend was a doctor of "philosophy"....The woman thinking that philosophy was a part of medical science, commented: "How many illnesses there are in the world!...Thanks all the same, Padre, but my daughter is not ill with philosophy". (Fr. A. Ripabottoni, "Padre Pio Recounts and Says").

Padre Pio with visitors

During the course of the day Padre Pio would reserve a few minutes to talk to prelates, priests, fellow friars and people from the world of politics and entertainment who came to San Giovanni Rotondo with the sole of meeting him and to receive from him advice and counsel of a practical and spiritual nature. The Saint of Pietrelcina would recommend them above all to be faithful to the Gospel and to manifest in respective daily pastoral or professional activity a perfect coherence with their professed faith. In this photo Padre Pio receives the visit of the President of the Italian Republic, Antonio Segni.

Among the people from the political world who frequented Padre Pio was Gerardo De Caro, who became his spiritual child. One day he asked Padre Pio to give him a few rules to help him make progress in the spiritual life. Padre Pio, looking him straight in the eyes, answered, "Punctuality, precision, uprightness and... generosity!"

Padre Pio with the child Jesus for the crib

During the days that preceded Christmas, Padre Pio's day was concentrated on the preparations for this his favourite feast. Padre Pio would count the days leading up to this most touching liturgical solemnity of the year. With words full of love he would formulate his best wishes for peace, serenity and joy. Before the crib he would remain for hours in meditation.Then on the night of the vigil , he would carry the child Jesus in procession and his eyes would shine with an inner love and joy that was contagious.

Padre Pio as a small child would model with clay the little figures for the crib and he would place them in a small grotto carved out of the wall of the house and he would prepare, in a very original way, little lights filling with a few drops of oil and a wick using the empty shells of snails, that he carefully chose and emptied, or rather had been emptied by his friend Luigi Orlando, since he did not have the courage to do it himself. (G. D. Flumeri, Padre Pio's Prayer Life , in Italian only).

Adapted from the 2005 Calendar sent out by the Friary of Our Lady of Grace, San Giovanni Rotondo,
and with whom the copyright lies.

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Padre Pio's body has been exhumed and put on
display for a period of public veneration.
on the image below for more information.

Padre Pio on view for public veneration
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Padre Pio was particularly fond of flowers

- Canonisation - Day in the life of - Middle Years - Death of Padre Pio - Wounds & Odours - Crypt - Spiritual Children

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