Just about everyone has heard of Padre Pio. The biographies that sell steadily year after year, including one by the author written with help from Pio’s friary, are crammed with accounts from people whose medically inexplicable healings came to them from God, they believe, through the gloved, bleeding hands of this Capuchin Franciscan priest.
We’ll take up just one extraordinary healing: the saint’s own.
A Father’s Work
The father of the boy born Francesco Forgione on May 25, 1887, was one of those Italian peasants locked in profitless farm labor on the lands of the lower Italian Peninsula. Not just a day laborer like the majority, he actually owned a few acres, but there was no way to profit to the point of educating Franci, as the future Pio was called.
Heroically, Papa Forgione became one of those workers who so pulled at the heartstrings of Francesca Cabrini as they let themselves be packed like sardines in the comfortless steerage decks of ships lurching toward an unknown fate in the United States. The hope of many like Forgione was not permanent emigration; rather, enduring years of separation, discrimination, and labor far from the beloved homeland, they sought better lives for those left behind and a decent old age for themselves.
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