With Padre Pio the extraordinary was ordinary, the uncommon was common, the supernatural was natural, the unthinkable was routine, the unpredictable was norm.
On February 1958, Laurino Costa sent a telegram to Padre Pio: "Pray for me to find a job." He received a telegram back: "Come to San Giovanni Rotondo at once." On the 4th, he met Padre Pio for the first time: "Laurino, I see you have arrived. You will feed my sick." "But Padre," Laurino protested, "I’ve never cooked an egg in my life." Padre Pio insisted: "Go and feed my sick. I’ll always be near you." Laurino went to Casa Sollievo and was told: "You must be the experienced cook we’ve been waiting for." The same day he was preparing meals for 450 people. Laurino admitted to Fr. John Schug, Capuchin: "To this day (14 years later) I still don’t know what happened. All day long I found myself calmly working and telling others what to do, as though I was carrying out a routine I had been used to."
Gift of Tongues
Professor Bruno Rabajotti was present to a long conversation between Padre Pio and a German gentleman. Prof. Rabajotti: "They spoke presumably in German. A language unknown to me." Padre Pio: "Why don't you join the conversation?" "We spoke German all three of us. It was so easy."
Angelina Serritelli from USA came to Padre Pio for Confession and First Communion knowing only English. "I confessed and we understood each other. He spoke in English."
|Padre Andrea D'Ascanio with Padre Pio|
Padre Andrea D'Ascanio testified: "The sacristy was full of people and they were looking at the door from were Padre Pio had to go to the confessional. There was no way that Padre Pio could reach the confessional walking through such a large crowd. The door didn't open, and I saw Padre Pio walking over the heads of those people and go to the confessional. Later I asked him about it." "I assure you, my son, it was like walking over bricks."
|Padre Pio with Brother Bill Martin, later Father Joseph Pius|
Brother Bill Martin was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 1, 1938. He first visited Padre Pio in 1959. He returned in 1964 and entered the convent as a lay friar. He helped Padre Pio's last three years (1965-1968). In 1969, after the death of Padre Pio, Brother Bill Martin entered the Morcone novitiate assuming the name of Joseph Pius, and was ordained priest in 1974. He caught Padre Pio falling in his last Mass. "It was near the end of his life. Another brother and I were helping him to the altar. He was going to say Mass. I remember thinking 'Why his weight on my arm feels like nothing at all.' That's when I looked at the floor. Padre Pio's feet were six inches off the ground. He was just gliding. He was levitating on his way to say Mass. I exchanged a glance with the other monk. We had come to the same realization at about the same time. We never spoke about it. We just knew." He died May 3, 2000.
Odour of Sanctity
One of the doctors who examined Padre Pio decided to take with him a cloth that covered the side wound for laboratory analysis in Rome. Nobody knew about it. During the trip several people told him they were smelling the perfume of Padre Pio. And the patients smelled the same perfume during the doctor's visits.
|Fra Modestino of Pietrelcina|
Fra Modestino reported: "I was serving Padre Pio's Mass when I started smelling his perfume. It was so intense that I was about to faint, and mentally asked him to stop. The perfume stopped. Later, I asked Padre Pio about it: 'My son it's not me. It's the lord. He decides who smells it, and when. Everything happens if and when He wants.' "
A woman involved in an accident broke her arm and shoulder, and after three years of surgeries the doctors said that she would never be able to use her arm. She went to Padre Pio. "Don't despair. The arm will recover." She went back home. No improvement. Three months later, on September 17, 1930, feast day of the wounds of St. Francis, she and all in the family, and the neighbors smelled a strong perfume of daffodils and roses. It lasted about 15 minutes. The arm returned normal. The radiographs showed no abnormality in the bones and cartilages.
A woman testified: "My husband was taken to the hospital in Taranto with life threatening injuries after a car accident. After several days of no improvement I prayed to Padre Pio. I smelled a marvelous perfume of lily. From then on my husband made a fast recovery."
On October 1949, Maria Galiano was about to die from uterine adenocarcinoma. The daughter sent a telegram and two letters to Padre Pio. On April 29 1950, Maria smelled an intense perfume. It lasted for two days. The third day she felt healed. The doctors ran tests and found that 'the tumor has completely disappeared.'
Joe Spada was hospitalized with terminal cancer in 1975. He, his wife, the nurses and other people at the hospital were frequently overcome by the beautiful aroma of fresh flowers. One night he was alone and saw Padre Pio sitting beside him. When Margie returned her eyes fell on a handkerchief that she did not recognize. As she reached for it, Joe said, "That's Padre Pio's handkerchief. He put it there on the stand just before he left." Still, today on several occasions, Padre Pio's handkerchief has given off the aroma of fresh flowers.
|Padre Pio beside Leo Fanning, Joe Asterita and Mario Avignone|
Joe Asterita, of the same Neapolitan origin as Padre Pio, was fluent in Italian and often translated for the other GI's. One day Padre Pio told Joe that five people needed a ride back to Foggia. Joe refused because it was prohibited to transport civilians in military vehicles. Padre Pio said; "Remember this. Anytime I ask you to do something form me, it will work out. You need have no fear." Joe was convinced, and allowed the two men, two women, and a little child in his military jeep. On the road Joe saw two Military Police Officers. They looked into the jeep and passes right on. At that moment the air become filled with the perfume of Padre Pio. As they continued, they encountered many MP's but Joe was never pulled over. The perfume was smelled until the five Italians were dropped off safely.
Before leaving, Joe told Padre Pio he was thinking of entering the Trappist order. "Joe, you talk all the time. You cannot keep silent even for a minute. You could never be a Trappist. Your vocation is to the married life."
When the war was coming to an end, Joe, Mario and Leo got word that their new assignment. Leo to Japan, Mario in other part of Europe, and Joe back to New York. This was on a new military point system. They told Padre Pio before leaving. Padre Pio replied: "Points or no points I tell you that you will go home together." When they returned to the Base, their transfer orders had been changed. They were all to go back to the United States.
Padre Clemente Tomay da Postiglione lived for 26 years in the convent and was confessor and friend of Padre Pio. He testified that on October 3, 1923, while approaching Padre Pio, he was "surrounded by an intense odor of violets, so intense that I was almost overcome. So it was for about ten minutes." He also reported: "I was bringing the Holy Communion at the home of Dr. Sanguinetti, who was sick. When I rang the bell I found myself surrounded by a strong perfume. Back to the Friary I told the story to Padre Pio and asked him, 'Padre, why did you make me smell your perfume?' Padre Pio replied: 'Because I love you.' "
Images courtesy of caccioppoli.com