St. Pio Of Pietrelcina, known simply as St. Padre Pio, was born May 25, 1887 to peasant farmers. A devout boy, he was a Capuchin novice in 1903 entering the priesthood in 1910 where he became known as Padre Pio.

Kneeling before a large crucifix on Sept. 20, 1918, Padre Pio was stigmatized with marks of the cross, the first priest to show those signs. He predicted the wounds would disappear upon his death. This was found to be true when he died in 1968. Some 100,000 followers attended his funeral.

Known for devotion to the confessional where he sometimes attended to penitents for 12 hours a day, or more, Padre Pio was canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 16, 2002 before half a million devotees. Padre Pio’s work lives on with prayer groups in his name. He is honored by a feast day on Sept. 23.

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