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PADRE PIO OF PIETRELCINA
S. Famiglia Church - Convent-Seminary of "Frati Cappuccini" an Museum
Just you are arriving to Pietrelcina, you immediately feel a sensation of peace and refreshment. A green and fresh boulevard begins from the crossroads of the little town and arrives in front of S.Family Church with the adjacent convent in which theres a Museum dedicated to Padre Pio. In this place, the young Padre Pio, while walked with don Salvatore Pannullo, parish priest of Pietrelcina, heard a sound of bells and a chorus of angels. Therefore, later, Mary Pyle, called lAmericana, that means "The American woman", spiritual daughter of Padre Pio wanted build, by own money, the Church. The building is very fine and bright in its simplicity, with the adjacent convent in which live the Franciscan Friars.
According to the wishes of Padre Pio, the Church is dedicated to the Saint Family. Besides there is, in the convent, a Museum dedicated to the Great Pietrelcinese. There are some original photos, consecrated subjects, clothes, books and other relics of Padre Pio.
In front of the convent, in a a fresh garden, there's the first monument of Padre Pio. The work, of the sculptor Danilo Andreose, shows a smiling Padre Pio together three young friars that show him the relief map of the new Seminary. It was inaugurated on 6 september 1971.
Since some years a new building, near the complex, receives the tourists and pilgrims for meals and other services.
All the scenery appears rather pleasant to the pilgrims and to the tourists which for the first time come to Pietrelcina. The green of the trees and the simplicity of the little town and its inhabitants, confers to the place a sense of peace and relax.. A climate of peace and quiet contemplation helps to pray, to meditate, and to visit calmly the places of Padre Pio. These ones are a vivid memory of the life of "Friar of Pietrelcina".
S.Maria degli Angeli Church
Starting from Saint Family Church, and walking by via dei Cappuccini, we'll arrive to the "SS.Annunziata square": the center of Pietrelcina. In this square there's the Parish church "S.Maria degli Angeli", where's the statue of the Madonna della Libera, that Padre Pio called: la Madonnella nostra lovely. The people of this little town is very devoted to the Virgin Mary, which saved Pietrelcina during a cholera epidemic in 1854.
In this church fra Pio baptized, the first time, a baby: Ermenegildo Masone, that will be a priest later. On 14 august 1910, four days after his ordination, Padre Pio celebrated the first Mass in this church.
...for several days I was ill; the main reason of this one has
been the too emotion that I have had, perhaps. My heart overflows of joy and I
always feel to wish the suffering. If Jesus want so
(Father Pio to father Benedetto da S.Marco in Lamis, 17 august 1910)
In this Church the Masses celebrated from Padre Pio are too long, for the inhabitants of Pietrelcina, because they must go to work the land. Then don Salvatore Pannullo, parish priest of Pietrelcina, asks him to dont stop in contemplation during his Mass, in the moment of consecrating. In fact, he say him that, as soon as possible, he must continue to celebrate the Saint Mass. And so happens for every Mass celebrated from Padre Pio. When don Salvatore realizes that the Friar is in ecstasy, silently, remembers spiritually him to continue tha Mass. And punctually Padre Pio continues to celebrate.
How many kindness I felt yesterday, S.Joseph festivity.
Especially after the Mass, so that I feel them in my heart too. I felt so many fire in my
heart; but its a fire that was fine. The mouth felt all the kindles of that
Eucharistic food of my Lord. Oh!, if in this moment I would may keep these
consolations in my heart, I would be in heaven!, certainly"
(Father Pio to Padre Agostino, 21/3/97)
Now we leave S. Annunziata square, and go, by a lane, to Porta Madonnella, placed at the beginning of a slope which introduces to the oldest quarter of Pietrelcina: the Castello. Porta Madonnella has three characteristic panels composed some ceramics's forms. The panels mean three pictures: In the center of these ones is depicted Our Lady: "Madonna Incoronata". On the right of her another picture depicts S.Anthony: "S.Antonio of Padova" in his classic pose, while embraces the Children Jesus lovely. On the left, indeed, theres a picture of S. Michael: "S. Michele Arcangelo" which squashes the head of the serpent.
Many times the little "Francesco Forgione", passing by this place, stopped looking at these pictures. He often passed through Porta Madonnella to go to Piana Romana to graze the little herd of the family. Also as priest, he many times, gathers the people of the quarter to pray together, especially during the month of May, or in other moments of faith and prayer.
In these moments perhaps, "Padre Pio" begins and glimpse, the project of the Groups of Prayer, a spiritual movement diffused for all the world.
I'would have a so strong voice to invite all the men of the world
to love Our Lady. But as I cant do it, I prayed, and I'll pray again my
Guardian Angel to do this mission for me
(Father Pio to Father Agostino, 1/5/ 1912)
Vico Storto Valle
Now we leave Porta Madonnella, for going up to the Borgo Castello. After having run along fifteen meters, we meet a fork. We choose and go on the left. Then we can see a big rock called the Morgia, that means rock. It remembers a sentence "Padre Pio", often, repeated to his friends of Pietrelcina, when they was going and see him to S.Giovanni Rotondo: Give my regards to the Morgia. The sentence of Padre Pio shows a great love to Pietrelcina and its inhabitants, symbolized like this rock.
"Vico Storto Valle". In this little byroad, was born Francesco Forgione (Padre Pio).
Here, in his motherly house, Francesco begins to walk under the careful patronage of mummy "Peppa" and daddy "Grazio". He lives the life of a baby, a boy and a young man here, beeing together to the genuine and simple people of the Castello. The stones, the houses, the stairs, the lanes and the little squares remember the childhood of "Francesco Forgione". In this byroad therere three important places: the Little Tower: "Torretta", the Kitchen: "Cucina" and the native house: casa natale. These ones remember the life that Francesco Forgione (Padre Pio) spent here.
When we are arriving into the lane Vico Storto Valle, we meet a steep flight of steps on the right. And going up this one we'll find before a pure and simple room. It's the Torretta, which means little tower, because it's like a little tower between the ground and the sky. In 1909 "Padre Pio" come back from the convent, because was ill. Then he lived in this room before removing to a new house in 1911 or 1912.
A bed, a little table, and few of things are in this little house, where "padre Pio" began to write his famous letters to Padre Benedetto and Padre Agostino, his spiritual Directors. Here he lived deeply his wonderful spiritual relation with God. And here he began to fight the devils every night and day.
This room remembers a wonderful spiritual life. Jesus, The Virgin Mary, the guardian angel, S.Joseph and "S.Francesco", appeared him. Here, near his parents, sisters and brother, Padre Pio lived a privileged season of quiet, serenity and peace, simple and genuine feelings remained impressed in his memory for ever. Here God prepared Padre Pio to be missionary for the world.
I want think our dear Jesus. He gives me so much energy and
courage in supporting the suffering and the daily temptations. These ones increase every
day, and io want not offend my Lord"
(Father Pio to Father Agostino 1/10/1910)
The native house
After having left the Torretta or Little Tower we are arriving to the native house of Padre Pio. Here, Francesco Forgione was born in the 25 May 1887. It was a day like all the days. Mummy Peppa which was pregnant, and her husband, was working the land at Piana Romana, a place long enough from Pietrelcina. At once Peppa felt the pains that preannounced the birth of the son. Then Zi Grazio told her to go home. So, after having run along the path of campaign which divide "Piana Romana and Pietrelcina, she arrived to her small, but comfortable house. Then Grazio, arrived with the midwife Grazia Formichelli.
At 5 p.m. was born Francesco Forgione, the future Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. Overflowing her joy, the midwife exclaimed enthusiastic: the children is wrapped in a white veil. It will be a great man.
"My Lord" has always demonstrated me so many signs of special
love. He demonstrated He's my Saviour, the sincere and faithful Friend of my heart, the
eternal and infinite love, the Consolation, the Joy, all my Treasure"
(Padre Pio to the sisters Campanile,november 1922)
In this room Francesco sleeps with his parents till hell have
some years of age, when he goes to live and sleep in the room behind the Kitchen, placed
after a few meters from his parentss bedroom.
Coming back of some steps, we meet the other Forgiones family house, a little flat composed of two little rooms. This house is the Kitchen, because in the first room, where is a fireplace, Peppa, the mother of the future Father Pio, cooks the diner for her family. In the second room, the children sleep instead. Being the room so little, its evident that mummy Peppa and her husband Orazio sleeps in the other room, the native room of Padre Pio.
In these rooms, in the bedroom behind the Kitchen particularly, Francesco Forgione begins to live his supernatural experiences. He sees the Virgin Mary, the Guardian Angel, Saint Francesco, and so on. Here he meets the devils and begins to combat them.
Jesus says me that he loves me and gives me his joy. Yes I love
my cross, the only cross. I love it because I always see it on the shoulders of Jesus. Now
Jesus sees very well that all my life, all my heart is dedicated to him".
(Father Pio to Father Agostino, 1 February 1913)
Jesus said me: "Under the cross you learn to love and I
dont give it to everybody, but only to the persons that I love particularly"
(Father Pio to Father Agostino, 13 febbruary 1913)
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