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Monday, July 29, 2013

St. Padre Pio Photo Album Part 1

Padre Pio became so ill during his studies for the priesthood, that he was forced to leave the seminary and move back to his hometown of Pietrelcina. He remained there for the better part of six years. Always a lover of solitude, during his long illness, he spent much of his time in prayer and silence in this small dwelling, La Torretta (the little tower). Before he was 30 years old he reached what is known in mystical theology as the "unitive way." The unitive way is the highest state of prayerful union with God that can be experienced in this life.

This crucifix, carved out of cypress wood by an unknown artist of the 17th century, depicts Christ in the agony of His Passion. It still hangs in the church of Our Lady of Grace in San Giovanni Rotondo. Padre Pio was praying in front of this crucifix on Friday morning, Sept. 20, 1918 when he received the stigmata. He was the first priest in the history of the Church to receive the stigmata. He carried the wounds of Christ till his death in 1968.

On August 10, 1910, Padre Pio was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Benevento, Italy. He wrote the following sentiment which was inscribed on his ordination card -- "Jesus, my breath and my life, today trembling, I elevate You in a mystery of love. With you let me be for the world - the way, the truth, and the life, and for You, a holy priest, a perfect victim."

-St. Pio of Pietrelcina

"The most beautiful act of faith is the one made in darkness, in sacrifice, and with extreme effort."

St. Pio of Pietrelcina

This photo captures a beautiful smile on Padre Pio's face. Although he suffered the stigmata, he was a man of joy. He said, "Don't allow any sadness to dwell in your soul, for sadness prevents the Holy Spirit from acting freely."

Padre Pio kissing a small image of Our Lady of Fatima. His love for the Blessed Mother was expressed through his constant recitation of the Rosary. He called the Rosary a "weapon against the evil in the world." He encouraged people to keep a Rosary with them at all times and to pray it daily.

Padre Pio praying before a crucifix in the choir loft of Our Lady of Grace church. It was here in the choir loft and in front of this crucifix that Padre Pio received the visible stigmata on Sept. 20, 1918. The figure of Christ became alive and in Padre Pio's own words: "All of a sudden, a great light shone round about my eyes. In the midst of this light there appeared the wounded Christ. . .The crucifix transformed itself into a great Exalted Being, all blood, from whom there came forth beams of light with shafts of flame that wounded me in the hands and feet. My side had already been wounded on the fifth of August of the same year."

On the last day of his life, Padre Pio was presented with a bouquet of red roses. He gave one of the roses to a pilgrim who was traveling to the shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompeii. It was a last, small, visual sign of the lifelong devotion Padre Pio had to the Blessed Mother.

Practically the only time Padre Pio left his monastery was at election time when he went to vote. In this photo, Padre Pio is being escorted from a voting station to a waiting car which was showered with flowers as it passed through the town. Hundreds would line up on the streets to wave to him as he passed by. He encouraged everyone to vote, stating that it is the duty of all Christians.

Jesus continues to love me and to draw me closer to Himself. He has forgotten my sins, and I would say that He remembers only His own mercy....Each morning He comes into my heart and pours out all the effusions of His goodness."

- St. Pio of Pietrelcina

"We will use the language of the little children of God."

- St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Padre Pio praying under the gaze of Our Lady of Grace--the patroness of the monastery where he spent over 50 years of his religious life. He often stopped in the gallery of the church to pray in front of the image of the Madonna. He said, "In my greatest sufferings it seems to me that I no longer have a mother on this earth, but a very compassionate one in Heaven."

"If we only knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass."

- St. Pio of Pietrelcina

"I ask you to love the Calvary of God, crucified in the darkness; stay near to Him and rest assured that Jesus is within your hearts more than you are able to believe or imagine."

- St. Pio of Pietrelcina

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