Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Pio da Pietrelcina (1887–1968)

Saint Pio da Pietrelcina (1887–1968)

Patron saint of civil defense volunteers, adolescents, and stress-relief

Feast day: September 23

Saint Pio da Pietrelcina was born on May 25, 1887. It was affirmed by his mother that he was able to see and converse with Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and his guardian angel as a child. When he became a Capuchin priest, he was given the name Pio (in English, Pius), eventually becoming known as Padre Pio. Those close to him confirm that he had many spiritual gifts, including the gifts of healing, bilocation, levitation, miracles, prophecy, and the ability to read hearts.

He is also alleged to have had physical conflicts with Satan and his demons, from which he is said to have sustained heavy bruising. Padre Pio became famous for bearing the stigmata, though he would have preferred to show no physical signs and suffer in secret. The stigmata would stay on him for the next 50 years of his life. Padre Pio was subjected to many investigations. For a while, the Holy See made several statements denying that the events in Padre Pio’s life were the results of any divine cause. At one point, he was prevented from publicly hearing confessions and saying Mass.

By 1933, Pope Pius XI ordered the Holy See to revoke its ban on Padre Pio’s public celebration of Mass. In 1934, he was again allowed to hear confessions. Saint Pio died on September 23, 1968, and was canonized on June 16, 2002, by Pope John Paul II.

(Image by Solomenco Bogdan, Wikimedia Commons)