Francesco was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, in the small village of Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887. 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. He 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 scarring and the skin was completely renewed. He had predicted 50 years prior that upon his death the wounds would heal. He died on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. His funeral was attended by about 100,000 people.
On June 16, 2002, over 500,000 Padre Pio devotees gathered in Rome to witness Pope Bl. John Paul II proclaim Padre Pio, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina.
A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth than an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. – St. Pio of Pietrelcina
God our Father, in Saint Pio you gave a light to your faithful people. You made him a pastor of the Church to feed your sheep with his word and to teach them by his example. Help us by his prayers to keep the faith he taught and follow the way of life he showed us. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.