MEMORIAL: SEPTEMBER 23
Padre Pio was born Francesco Forgione at the end of the 19th century in Italy. He was born to poor farmers and supported by his family, Pio dedicated his life to God at a young age. He often took on penances and had visions of Mary and Jesus. It was so normal to him that he believed all people had these visions.
At the age of 10, Pio tried to become a friar, but had to wait until he was 15 so he could receive more education. He became a priest at the age of 24 and continually experienced poor health. While hearing confessions, Pio was given the stigmata (the wounds of Jesus) that constantly bled. Upon medical examination it was found that the wounds were perfectly round and smelled like roses. Word got out and at the beginning of his popularity, Pio’s ministry was restricted by the Vatican. Over time, the Vatican accepted Pio and allowed him to have public ministry yet again.
Pio was known for spending hours in the confessional and used his now widespread fame to build a hospital. Throughout his life, ailments continued to plague him, but he also continued to receive visions and ecstasies. Pio died in 1968 and was canonized in 2002. He is the patron saint of adolescence and volunteers.