Padre Pio: Christmas Testimonies. 

Padre Pio: Christmas Testimonies. 

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Padre Pio: Christmas Testimonies.

Maria Pompilio, who was one of Padre Pio’s faithful spiritual daughters, worked as a school teacher in San Giovanni Rotondo. She attended Padre Pio’s Mass every morning and went to confession to him regularly.

Once, on Christmas Eve, Padre Pio had gone to the sacristy of the church about 8:00 p.m. to hear the men’s confessions. It happened to be a very cold night. Because there was no heating in the monastery at that time, a stove had been placed in the sacristy to take the chill off.

While Padre Pio was hearing the men’s confessions, Maria Pompilio and several other women stayed in the church to pray. After the confessions were over, Maria and her companions went into the sacristy to greet Padre Pio and to kiss his hand. Maria noticed that Padre Pio’s hand was ice cold. 

Padre Pio greeted his spiritual daughters and said to them, “May the Child Jesus make you feel his mercy and his tender love.” “It is so cold tonight, Padre Pio,” one of his spiritual daughters said. “Please speak to us for a while. Tell us more about the Infant Jesus and fill us with the warmth of his love.”

Padre Pio then took his spiritual daughters to the visitors’ room in the monastery. There was a long table in the room with enough chairs for everyone to be seated comfortably. Padre Pio spoke about the Christmas Mysteries and said, “Daughters, let us meditate on the words from the gospel of John. John, the beloved disciple said, And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Tears filled Padre Pio’s eyes as he quoted the words from scripture. He paused for a moment to dry his eyes and then continued.

He reflected on the privations of Jesus’ birth and infancy. He spoke of how Jesus was born in the winter, the coldest season of the year, in the depth of the night. There among the animals, he was laid in the manger. Mary and Joseph attended him lovingly while the angels in heaven rejoiced.

Suddenly Padre Pio closed his eyes and became silent. “Padre Pio has fallen asleep,” one of the women whispered. “He heard confessions all day today and he is exhausted. Let’s be very quiet and use the time to pray until he wakes up.” “I do not think he is asleep,” one of the other women said. “This is Christmas Eve. I believe that Padre Pio is in deep communion with Jesus at this very moment. It is truly a privilege for us to be sitting here with him.”

After about thirty minutes, Padre Pio opened his eyes. One of his spiritual daughters then said to him, “Padre Pio, you were silent for a long time. Since it is Christmas Eve, we were wondering if you were with the Baby Jesus?” Padre Pio made no reply. Another said, “Padre Pio, please tell us what you experienced as you sat with your eyes closed.” “If you promise not to say a word about it until after my death, I will tell you,” Padre Pio replied. “We give you our word that we will tell no one,” the women said in unison.

Padre Pio then said to the women, “The Lord permitted me to wish a happy Christmas to my brother Michael who is in America and also to my sister, Sister Pia, in her convent in Rome. Then Jesus showed me all of my spiritual children who have passed on to eternal life and I saw their dwelling places in heaven.” The women were deeply inspired by his words.

Before long, it was time for Padre Pio to prepare for the celebration of the Christmas Midnight Mass. Softly glowing candles illuminated the little 16th century church of Our Lady of Grace. When the Mass began, Padre Pio, who held a small statue of the baby Jesus in his arms, processed solemnly down the aisle toward the Christmas crib. Together with the choir, the Capuchins and the entire congregation sang Christmas carols and hymns of praise to God. All hearts seemed to glow with the fire of God’s love.

After the midnight Mass, before retiring to his cell, Padre Pio spoke to his spiritual daughters for the last time that evening and said, “Tonight heaven opened and many graces came down into your souls.” Truly, they had all been blessed. ✙

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Katharina Tangari, who lived in Naples, Italy, was one of Padre Pio’s spiritual daughters. One evening, Katharina’s neighbor came over to see her. With tears in her eyes, she told Katharina that she was very worried about her daughter, Claretta. Claretta, who was almost a year old, was having trouble walking and had developed a very noticeable limp.

She took Claretta to one doctor after another and finally, she went to see a specialist in Bologna. It was discovered that Claretta had a congenital defect in her leg. She was put in a plaster cast that went up to her chest. Her mother had to take her to Bologna every six months and have the cast changed. In December of 1951, the third cast was put on her leg. Unfortunately, after a thorough examination, the orthopedic specialist said that he saw no sign of improvement.

The day before Christmas, Katharina made a trip from her home in Naples to San Giovanni Rotondo. Claretta’s mother asked her to speak to Padre Pio about her daughter’s condition and to request his prayers. Katharina was very happy to do so.

After the Mass, Katharina stood near the sacristy, hoping to say a word to Padre Pio. As he approached the sacristy, Katharina wished him a Merry Christmas. Padre Pio greeted her in a friendly way. Katharina was so excited by the short exchange that she completely forgot to mention Claretta. Just before Padre Pio entered the sacristy, he paused momentarily. Katharina suddenly remembered Claretta and quickly said, “Padre Pio, Claretta’s leg!” Padre Pio smiled at Katharina and said, “On St. Joseph’s Day!”

On the morning of March 18, when Claretta woke up, it was discovered that her plaster cast had fallen off and had broken into many pieces. Her mother took her to Bologna to get a new cast. On March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, x-rays showed that Claretta’s leg was finally in the process of healing. She no longer needed to wear a cast.

Claretta’s leg was still weak. The specialist in Bologna advised gentle exercise and walking to strengthen her leg. Claretta’s mother was afraid to follow the doctor’s recommendations. She didn’t want Claretta to fall down or to hurt herself. She ignored the doctor’s advice and instead carried Claretta in her arms or took her about in a wheelchair. Her fears became almost overwhelming.

During Advent of 1952, Katharina made another trip to San Giovanni Rotondo. While making her confession to Padre Pio, she told him how fearful Claretta’s mother had become and she asked for his prayers. Padre Pio gave Katharina a beautiful holy card of the Infant Jesus of Prague. He told Katharina that Christmas was an especially good time to ask for graces from the Lord. “Entrust everything to the Child Jesus,” Padre Pio said to Katharina.

Claretta’s mother attended Mass in Naples on Christmas Eve. When she returned to her home, little Claretta began walking on her own accord. She continued to steadily improve from that time forward. ✙

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There was a boy who had a great desire for an electric train. For months he had asked his parents to get him a train. Shortly after Christmas, when it was close to the feast of Epiphany, the boy said a heartfelt prayer to Padre Pio, “Padre Pio, if you help me get an electric train, I will bring you a box of candy when I come to visit you.”

The boy’s father was a policeman. On the feast of the Epiphany, it was the custom at the time to give each of the police officers in the community a gift. One of the gifts that the boy’s father received was an electric train and quite naturally, he gave it to his son. Some time later the boy’s aunt took him to San Giovanni Rotondo. When Padre Pio saw the boy, he said, “Well, did you bring me the candy?”

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Just as nature retreats deep into itself during the winter months, so the Christian is invited to turn inward during the blessed time of Advent in preparation for the Lord’s coming…Advent is a quiet contemplative time of waiting for the Light that will come and shine on us on Christmas day, rescuing us from the great darkness and hopelessness we experience in our daily lives.
Brother DAvilaLatourrette.

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