Visiting Padre Pio: what you’d see

The only part of the saint’s body visible to pilgrims is his fingers, which are now blackened. His face is covered by a silicone mask, and his hands, with their wounds, by a pair of fingerless gloves like those he wore in life.


Pilgrims Flock to Visit Padre Pio’s Body

The body of mystic Saint Padre Pio has been restored and reconstructed, and, dressed in a Capuchin habit, is on display in the monastery at San Giovanni Rotondo, where he lived. Padre Pio is extraordinarily revered throughout Italy, one poll showing that more Italians pray to him than to Jesus or the Virgin Mary. Among the pilgrims were many seeking physical as well as spiritual healing.

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Padre Pio and Me

I just throw out this little story because it’s interesting but may or may not be particularly meaningful.

Time: summer of 2004, about 6 PM

Place: Praiano, Italy, on the Amalfi Coast

My husband Tony and I were vacationing in paradise. We’d rented an idyllic little house in a real neighborhood in Praiano – views of the Mediterranean, Positano, and in a prime position to experience everyday life high above the tourist route. We’d decided to go to the festival of the San Luca, at the church that was perched even higher than our house.

Now, on the corner of our street, there was a statue of 20th century holy man, Padre Pio. When we reached his statue, we knew to turn right.

We’d decided to walk up to the piazza of the church to witness the procession, after which there was a festival with music, food and fireworks. It was a beautiful evening, and we set out for the 1/2 mile walk to the piazza. As we reached Pio’s statue, my left foot slid beneath me, and I skidded along the pavement for a few feet with my right foot twisted under me. Tony helped me up, and above the strap of my sandal, the instep of myfoot was torn and bleeding. Ow, ow, ow…..

Determined not to miss the festa, we continued on, Tony walking and me hobbling. We arrived a bit early and found seats on the wall near the church, eventually attending the service, the procession, and the celebration afterwards. My foot continued to ooze, and we joked a bit about a message from Padre Pio, who, of course is believed to have had stigmata on hands and feet.

I still have the scar. And the memory.