St. Pius (Padre Pio) of Pietrelcina

St Pius (Francisco Forgione) was born near Naples, Italy on 25th May 1887. His parents were poor peasant farmers. When he was ten years old, a Capuchin Franciscan friar came to Pietrelcina. St Pius was impressed by his simplicity and humility, he decided that he would one day be a Capuchin priest. His father travelled to the United States to find work and e...arn money for education funds.

On January 6th 1903, St Pius entered the Capuchin community in Morcone, and was ordained priest in 1910. Because of poor health, his superiors thought it would be better for him to spend some time in his hometown. It was during this time that St Pius received a special grace, he began to feel the nail marks of the crucifixion in his hands and feet, and the spear wound in his side. After a while they became permanent. On September 20th 1918, this stigmata would become visible and last for fifty years until his death and gave off a fragrance of roses and violets.

St Pius spent most of his priesthood hearing confessions and giving hope and encouragement to countless people from all around the world, until his death on September 23rd 1968 when he made is last confession and renewed his Franciscan vows. At 2:30am he said “I see two mothers” (taken to mean his mother and Mary). He died in his cell and with his last breath whispered “Maria”. He was declared a saint by Pope John Paul II in 2002. He often said “After my death I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death”.