St Pio of Pietrelcina – 23 September
Born to a southern Italian farm family, the son of Grazio, a shepherd. At age 15 he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin friars in Morcone, Italy and joined the order at age 19. Suffered several health problems, and at one point his family thought he had tuberculosis. Ordained at age 22 on 10 August 1910.
While praying before a cross, he received the stigmata on 20 September 1918, the first priest ever to be so blessed. As word spread, especially after American soldiers brought home stories of Padre Pio following WWII, the priest himself became a point of pilgrimage for both the pious and the curious. He would hear confessions by the hour, reportedly able to read the consciences of those who held back. Reportedly able to bilocate, levitate, and heal by touch. Founded the House for the Relief of Suffering in 1956, a hospital that serves 60,000 a year. In the 1920‘s he started a series of prayer groups that continue today with over 400,000 members worldwide.
His canonization miracle involved the cure of Matteo Pio Colella, age 7, the son of a doctor who works in the House for Relief of Suffering, the hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo founded by Padre Pio. On the night of 20 June 2000, Matteo was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital with meningitis. By morning, doctors had lost hope for him as nine of the boy‘s internal organs had ceased to give signs of life. That night, during a prayer vigil attended by Matteo’s mother and some Capuchin friars of Padre Pio’s monastery, the child‘s condition improved suddenly. When he awoke from the coma, Matteo said that he had seen an elderly man with a white beard and a long, brown habit, who said to him: “Don’t worry, you will soon be cured.” The miracle was approved by the Congregation and Pope John Paul II on 20 December 2001.
“And you, Blessed Padre Pio, look down from heaven upon us assembled in this square and upon all gathered in prayer before the Basilica of Saint John Lateran and in San Giovanni Rotondo. Intercede for all those who, in every part of the world, are spiritually united with this event and raise their prayers to you. Come to the help of everyone; give peace and consolation to every heart. Amen!” – from the homily of Pope John Paul II at the beatification of Padre Pio
“Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have You present so that I do not forget You. You know how easily I abandon You. Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life and without You I am without fervor. Stay with me, Lord, for You are my light and without You I am in darkness. Stay with me, Lord, to show me Your will. Stay with me, Lord, so that I hear Your voice and follow You. Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love You very much and alway be in Your company. Stay with me, Lord, if You wish me to be faithful to You. Stay with me, Lord, as poor as my soul is I want it to be a place of consolation for You, a nest of Love. Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close and life passes, death, judgment and eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile! Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers, I need You. Let me recognize You as Your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart. Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to You, if not by Communion, at least by grace and love. Stay with me, Lord, for it is You alone I look for, Your Love, Your Grace, Your Will, Your Heart, Your Spirit, because I love You and ask no other reward but to love You more and more. With a firm love, I will love You with all my heart while on earth and continue to love You perfectly during all eternity. Amen.” – Padre Pio’s Prayer After Holy Communion