Saint Pio was a Franciscan monk from Pietrelcina, Italy who lived from 1887 to 1968. He was best known for his stigmata. He bore the wounds of Christ for fifty years on his hands and feet so he often wore fingerless gloves. He also bled from his side, where Christ was pierced by a sword. Many of his bloody cloths are kept as relics and are publicly available for veneration. He had a deep love for God expressed especially by reflection on His passion. In prayer, Saint Pio would share in the sufferings of Christ supernaturally. He was such an effective priest in saving souls that the devil hated him and demons would beat him up in his cell. His memoirs and regular correspondence with his spiritual director are preserved. He lived in a friary with other Franciscans who keep many stories about his supernatural gifts. For instance, once a friar stepped out outside and saw Saint Pio deep in conversation but nobody was visible. The friar interrupted and Saint Pio told him to leave him alone because he was discussing things with angels. In special instances, he would communicate to people by sending messages through their guardian angels. He also had the ability to be in two places at once. He’s well known for his good spiritual direction in his capacity as a confessor. In some instances, God would guide his soul to see something hidden in another person to bring it out and correct it. This gift is special for saintly confessors and it is called “reading souls”. He is also well known for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his constant prayer of the rosary. Every day, all day he was immersed in praying it. He would often do 35 in a single day. He was known to cry during mass and he emphasized the sacrificial nature of the liturgy. He was also known for his incredible wonder and respect for the Holy Eucharist. There are many pictures of him staring at the Lord’s Eucharistic presence with awe. The memoirs of many of the friars he lived with recall that he was a kind and loving man who drank beer at dinner. He loved his brothers greatly. He also got perfect grades in seminary and graduated at the top of his class. When he was only seven years old he would stay up all night praying on his knees from the heart. No less incredible has been Saint Pio’s work from beyond the grave. Many providential acts of God are attributed to his intercession and he is beloved by many of the Catholic faithful for his spiritual friendship and patronage.
He also had a great love for sinners and often prayed for God’s mercy on them. He was quoted saying “I will not enter into heaven until all my brothers go before me.”