July 1916. Padre Pio, due to some health problems come to San Giovanni Rotondo on Gargano, to find some relief. In this small mountain town, where the air restore him, the saint has lived for about 52 years. He gave comfort to thousands of souls. Here, he built with determination the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, now among the most renowned hospitals in southern Italy and even a model for other Catholic hospitals in America. There he found the highs and lows of an extraordinary life as it is intense. This place has always been in human history, is part of the Via Francigena of South, now under the watchful care of international programs with the intent to develop this stretch of road, a land kissed by the sun and rich precious treasures that everyone will have the opportunity to live inside and outside ourselves.
Padre Pio, a man of suffering
Padre Pio, a priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin lived from 1887 to 1968. He was born on May 25th , 1887 in Pietrelcina, in the province of Benevento from Horace Forgione and Maria Giuseppa De Nunzio, and was baptized with the name of Francis.
10 years expressed the ardent desire to become a monk. To do this study in private, his father must emigrate to America.
In 1903 the young Francis entered the novitiate of Morcone, taking the name Brother Pio. After six years of studies, including constant returns to Pietralcina for health reasons (the same as the lead later in San Giovanni Rotondo), was ordained a priest in the cathedral of Benevento, on 10th August 1910 and left in 1916, therefore, San Giovanni Rotondo.
It was in 1918 that he receives the gift of the stigmata, and the prodigious event attracts people from all over the world, but raises disturbing questions in the science and the Church. Since then spends his life with great humility and sacrifice of Masses, confessions, meetings with the faithful. It died on September 23rd , 1968 and on December 18th , 1997 was declared Venerable by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. His beatification took place on May 2nd , 1999 in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of a huge crowd of faithful. On 25th February 2002, the Consistory, with the recognition of another miracle, decreed the canonization of Padre Pio (June 16th ). Today his remains rest are in the church dedicated to him.