Who is Pio of Pietrelcina?
Pio of Pietrelcina (born Francesco Forgione; 25 May 1887 – 23 September 1968), widely known as Padre Pio (Italian for ‘Father Pius’), was an Italian Capuchin friar, priest, stigmatist, and mystic. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church, celebrated on 23 September.
Pio joined the Capuchins at fifteen and spent most of his religious life in the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo. He was marked by stigmata in 1918, leading to several investigations by the Holy See. Despite temporary sanctions imposed by the Vatican, his reputation kept increasing during his life, attracting many followers to San Giovanni Rotondo. He was the founder of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, a hospital built near the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo.
After his death, his devotion continued to spread among believers all over the world. He was beatified on 2 May 1999 and canonized on 16 June 2002 by Pope John Paul II. His relics are exposed in the sanctuary of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, next to the convent of San Giovanni Rotondo, now a major pilgrimage site.
Padre Pio has gained more mainstream notoriety / awareness in the last year or so, due to a biographic film about his life starring Shia LeBeouf.