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Padre Pio and the popes: What the latest popes say about the saint with the stigmata


Every Sept. 23, the Church remembers the witness of Padre Pio, a Franciscan friar who dedicated himself, above all, to confession, to the point that he would often spend up to 14 hours in the confessional.

In 2016, Pope Francis had the saint's remains put on display in St. Peter's Basilica, during the Jubilee of Mercy, as an example for all priests. He also visited the convent where the saint lived.

POPE FRANCIS
March 17, 2018
“At the same time, considering his unconditional fidelity to the Church, you should be witnesses of communion, because only communion—that is, always being united, with peace among us, communion among us—can edify and construct. A country that fights everyday does not grow, does not build itself; it scares people.”

At 15 years old, he decided to become a Capuchin monk. From there he began a long spiritual journey in which he experienced the suffering of Jesus on the Cross.

Benedict XVI explained the significance of the stigmata the saint suffered. He said God never destroys the person, but transforms humanity with His Spirit, and directs it toward his plan of salvation.

BENEDICT XVI
June 21, 2009
“As happened with Jesus, Padre Pio had to overcome the true fight, a radical combat—not against earthly enemies, but against the spirit of evil. The strongest storms that threatened him were the devil's assaults, from which he defended himself using God's armor.”

The mystical wounds related to Christ's Passion appeared on his hands and feet, as well as in his side and shoulder. Their appearance was accompanied by the smell of flowers.

Due to his well-known holiness, thousands of people would travel to San Giovanni Rotondo to meet him, go to confession with him and attend his Masses. Today, his devotion has spread throughout the world, and is especially popular in Italy.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi

Translation: CT