|Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina - San Giovanni Rotondo (FG) Italy in 3D - the Shrine|
|Monday, 30 January 2012 09:53|
The Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, southern Italy, is the second-most visited Catholic shrine in the world. It centers on the tomb of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, a Capuchin friar, priest and mystic known for his devotion to God, care for the sick, and supernatural gifts. He died in 1968 and was declared a saint in 2002.
San Giovanni Rotondo was founded in 1095 on the ruins of an ancient settlement of the IV century b. C. Excavations have revealed tombs dating back to that period and today there's the baptistery with its round shape (that's the reason of "Rotondo" = round). It was first dedicated to Janus, the two-faced God, and then dedicated to St John the Baptist.
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About Saint Pio of Pieltrelcina
Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, peasant farmers, in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. From his childhood, it was evident that he was a special child of God. Francesco was very devout even as a child, and at an early age felt drawn to the priesthood. He became a Capuchin novice at the age of sixteen and received the habit in 1902. Francesco was ordained to the priesthood in 1910 after seven years of study and became known as Padre Pio.
On September 20, 1918, Padre Pio was kneeling in front of a large crucifix when he received the visible marks of the crucifixion, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of Church. The doctor who examined Padre Pio could not find any natural cause for the wounds. Upon his death in 1968, the wounds were no longer visible. In fact, there was no scaring and the skin was completely renewed. He had predicted 50 years prior that upon his death the wounds would heal. The wounds of the stigmata were not the only mystical phenomenon experienced by Padre Pio.
The blood from the stigmata had an odor described by many as similar to that of perfume or flowers, and the gift of bilocation was attributed to him. Padre Pio had the ability to read the hearts of the penitents who flocked to him for confession which he heard for ten or twelve hours per day. Padre Pio used the confessional to bring both sinners and devout souls closer to God; he would know just the right word of counsel or encouragement that was needed. Even before his death, people spoke to Padre Pio about his possible canonization. He died on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. His funeral was attended by about 100,000 people.
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