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Monday, July 29, 2013

St. Padre Pio Photo Album Part 4

Padre Pio's parents, Grazio and Maria Giuseppa Forgione shared a long life of poverty and hard work on their tiny land holding. Three of their children died as infants. Grazio went to America twice to find work to sustain his family and to earn the needed money for Padre Pio's seminary education, while Maria Giuseppa remained at home to care for the family.

A photograph of Private Francesco Forgione (Padre Pio). Padre Pio was already a priest when he was drafted into the Italian army along with 60 other members of the Capuchin order. He was called up for military service when Italy entered the First World War. He was 30 years old and was assigned to the 10th Company of the Italian Medical Corps in Naples. He prayed to Jesus to "have compassion on the poor nations, so tried by the misfortune of war, and to cause His justice to give way at last to mercy." Padre Pio experienced a divine response to his prayers for Jesus appeared to him and answered him by means of a gesture which communicated to him - "Slowly, slowly." This divine visitation seemed to signal the approach of peace.

"May Jesus be the star which guides our steps constantly in the wilderness of this present life and bring us without delay to the haven of salvation."

- St. Pio of Pietrelcina

A photo of Padre Pio's hometown of Pietrelcina, Italy, with the Capuchin friary in the background. On one occasion, in 1909, Padre Pio was walking in Pietrelcina with Don Salvatore Pannullo, the parish priest of the town. Padre Pio told Don Salvatore that he could hear angels singing and church bells ringing and he perceived the fragrance of incense. Padre Pio said that someday a church would be built on the very spot where they were standing, and would be for the glory and praise of God. It was a prophecy that came to pass many years later. Construction for a church and friary was begun in 1926, a gift to Padre Pio from his American secretary, Mary Pyle. He named the friary, "Holy Family."

"God chooses souls for Himself and in spite of my unworthiness He has chosen even mine to help Him in the tremendous task of human salvation."

- St. Pio of Pietrelcina

"As long as there remains a drop of blood in our body, there will be a struggle between right and wrong."

- St. Pio of Pietrelcina

An early photograph of Brother Pio. One of his classmates said, "He was always humble, recollected and silent. He had something that distinguished him from others...He was very handsome. His behavior which was so different from that of the others was admired by everybody. He was not shy in character, but affable and very simple...His personality was truly beautiful because of his countenance and because of his self possession. He distinguished himself from other students by his modesty, humility, and great piety."

On August 19, 1919, this exceptional photograph of Padre Pio with his wounds uncovered was taken in the garden of the monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo. It is the first document which could be defined as official of the acknowledgement of the stigmata and was made at the request of his Superiors, one year after the permanent stigmatization. Padre Pio was thirty-two years old. The photograph was taken by Padre Placido, a companion and fellow classmate of his. Notice that Padre Pio's expression is rather sad. He did not want the photograph to be taken.

"I don't know how to thank the Heavenly Father for His mercy when He introduces souls to me to whom I can be helpful in some way."

- St. Pio of Pietrelcina

"Jesus likes to give himself to simple souls; we must make an effort to acquire this beautiful virtue of simplicity . . . Jesus said, 'Unless you become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.' But before He taught us this by His words, He had already put it into practice. He became a child and gave us the example of that simplicity He was to teach us later also by His words. . . We must try to keep our thoughts pure, our ideas upright and honest, and our intentions holy."

-St. Pio of Pietrelcina

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