“My real mission will begin after my death.” These words of Padre Pio (1887-1968) proved prophetic in the years after his death. Today, he is one of the most beloved of Catholic saints.
Born in 1887 in rural Italy, young Francesco Forgione was named after the country’s patron saint, Francis of Assisi. In his desire to suffer for souls and to be more like Christ, the boy who would become known as Pio of Pietrelcina was to bear the stigmata on his body, like Francis of Assisi. Padre Pio was known for the mystical intensity of his prayer; indeed, this ability to make contact with the powerful presence of God through prayer enabled him to bless and pray with those in most need, wherever they were in the world.