Over a number years I have visited the Blue Army Shrine in Washington, NJ and passed by the life size statue of St Padre Pio, the Capuchin monk who was officially proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul 11 now St John Paul The Great. I stopped and looked but never felt any spiritual connection with this Franciscan who lived at the San Giovanni Monastery and had the stigmata, the wounds of Christ. For many years he was both maligned and revered by the Vatican, many Catholics and others. I believed he was authentic but paid little attention to him.
Then a few weeks ago I received a book, Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry, written by Diane Allen who included true stories of numerous people she interviewed who had experienced spiritual, physical, financial help and also many who received personal guidance in their relationships and vocational choices from this humble friar.
Miraculous incidents of bilocation, healings, conversions, etc. are included. The most impressive revelation in this book for me is his profound love of God and people. He was known for the gift of reading souls and the tremendous number of confessions he heard. He could be severe in some cases, but he meant it for the salvation of the person’s soul.
In the modern world where the tangible, scientific, and intellectual are valued most– purely things of human understanding– we can surely profit from the mystical, miraculous, and yet the truly human saint. Perhaps you might take a closer look at this Spiritual Father.