Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Relics of St Padre Pio (Part 1)

Today is the feast day of St Pio of Pietrelcina, known to all the world simply as “Padre Pio”, who died on this date in 1968, and was canonized in 2002. Earlier this year, I had the very good fortune to go on a pilgrimage which visited San Giovanni Rotondo, where he spent most of his life, and Pietrelcina, the place of his birth and earliest years as a priest. His fellow Capuchin friars knew, of course, that they had a Saint in their midst, and as a result, took great care to preserve as many relics of him as possible, and both places have an enormous number of them on display. Of course, they are all kept behind glass for preservation, which doesn’t make for the best photography. Here are some photos from San Giovanni Rotondo, which we visited first; others from Pietrelcina will be in a separate post.
His body, which since 2008 has been displayed for the veneration of the faithful in the crypt of the second church at San Giovanni Rotondo.
When Padre Pio arrived at San Giovanni in 1916, the Capuchin community numbered only about seven members, who lived in a small conventual building next to a small church dedicated to the Virign Mary. It was while praying in front of this crucifix in the choir of that church on Sept. 20, 1918, that his stigmata, which he had received earlier, became visible, and would remain so until shortly before he died almost exactly 50 years later. This was the church where he celebrated his Masses on most days.
The choir, in the traditionally very simple style of the Capuchins.
One of his habits.
The museum of San Giovanni dedicated to Padre Pio has preserved thousands of the letters which he received over the years of his priestly ministry.
His cell as it was at the time of his death.
Due in no small measure to Padre Pio’s presence, the Capuchin community grew enormously in his lifetime, and by the 1950s, it was necessary to build a much larger church next to the older one, which is in a style typical of its era; not particularly attractive, but not particularly ugly. (Unfortunately, the friars have more recently added a much larger and completely hideous church to their complex.)
The choir, analogous to that of the smaller church next door.
Various liturgical items used by Padre Pio over the years.
An altar cloth stained with blood from the stigmata.
A kneeler with a cushion, and a stool used by him.
Another kneeler and chair.

A room of the infirmary; the metal vessel on the floor was used to wash his feet.
A coat and another habit.
The wooden board upon which he body was laid just after his death.
Devotional books.
Personal items.

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