Remarkable Testimonies: Padre Pio’s Intercessions In The War Years. 

Remarkable Testimonies: Padre Pio’s Intercessions In The War Years. 

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The incorruptible mortal remains of St Padre Pio

Padre Pio’s intercession in the War Years: Remarkable Testimonies.The efficacy of Padre Pio’s prayers for the deceased was revealed on one occasion in a startling way. 

During the first World War, the main door of the monastery of Our Lady of Grace was locked every evening after the ringing of the Angelus bell. An iron bar secured the door and kept the monastery safe from intruders.

One evening, the superior of the monastery, Father Raffaele, heard voices shouting, “Viva Padre Pio! Viva Padre Pio!” (Long live Padre Pio!) He immediately notified the porter, Brother Gerardo.

“Strangers have somehow managed to enter the monastery, even though the door is locked,” Father Raffaele said. “They are downstairs in the hallway shouting in unison. You must go down there immediately and make them leave!”

Brother Gerardo left at once to take care of the matter. He returned a short time later and said to Father Raffaele, “The door is locked and secured and there are no intruders downstairs.” Father Raffaele was perplexed. He knew what he had heard and he could not doubt it. He was also well aware that unusual incidents happened from time to time at the monastery of Our Lady of Grace. Those unusual events almost always involved Padre Pio. Father Raffaele had lived with Padre Pio long enough to know that he was living in a supernatural reality. As one of the Capuchins described it, “Padre Pio was living with one foot on earth and one foot in heaven.”

Father Raffaele decided to ask Padre Pio about the mysterious voices he had heard in the hallway. The next morning he said to Padre Pio, 

“Something very strange happened last night. Even though the doors were locked, I was certain that intruders had broken into the monastery. I distinctly heard them shouting your name in the corridor and saying, “Viva Padre Pio!” I have no doubt about what I heard.

When Brother Gerardo went downstairs to escort the people out, there was no one there. Do you know anything about this?”

“Those were the souls of deceased soldiers who had walked up the hill to thank me for my prayers,” Padre Pio replied. “There are more souls of the dead than of the living who climb the hill to the monastery to request my prayers.”✙

One morning after the Mass at Our Lady of Grace monastery, a number of people gathered around Padre Pio in order to greet him. Maria Pompilio, one of Padre Pio’s spiritual daughters, was in the church that day. The year was 1919. Maria noticed a man in the crowd who was staring intently at Padre Pio. She was close enough to hear the man exclaim, “Dear Lord, it is him. Truly, it is him. I am not mistaken!” Upon saying that, the man knelt down and began to cry. “Padre Pio, thank you for saving me from death! Thank you!” the man said. Padre Pio put his hands on the man’s head in a blessing and said, “You must not thank me, my son. Thank our Lord and the Virgin of Graces.” Padre Pio and the man spoke together for a few moments but they were speaking so softly that no one nearby could hear the conversation. Then Padre Pio went to the choir loft in the church to pray.

Some of the people who had been present when the man and Padre Pio were speaking together became curious. They asked the man what Padre Pio had said to him. The man explained that he had been a captain in the infantry. On one occasion, when he was on the battlefield engaged in combat, he noticed a friar standing a short distance away. The friar had a very distinct look about him. He was delicate and fair-skinned and had beautiful and expressive eyes. The captain could tell by looking at him that he was not a military chaplain for he wore the clothing of a simple friar. 
The friar spoke to the captain and said, “Captain, come here quickly. Move away from where you are standing immediately!” The captain followed the friar’s instructions. No sooner had he run toward the friar, than a grenade exploded right in the spot where he had been standing.

The force of the explosion left a large hole in the ground. If he had not followed the command of the friar, he would have been killed instantly. The captain had the greatest desire to thank the friar for saving his life but when he looked in his direction once again, the friar was no longer there. He was nowhere to be seen.

When the captain recounted his story to his fellow-soldiers, one of the soldiers told him that he too had been rescued from death by a “beautiful monk.” At the Italian military base, others reported that they too had seen a friar on the battlefield who raised his eyes toward Heaven and prayed.

One of the soldiers said that the friar’s name was Padre Pio who lived in a monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo. The captain had made a trip to the monastery of Our Lady of Grace in order to see if Padre Pio was the priest who he had seen on the battlefield. How happy he was to be able to confirm that it was indeed Padre Pio who had rescued him and how glad he was to be able to thank him personally for saving his life.✙

Padre Pio often reminded people of the importance of praying for the souls of the departed. He used to say, “We must empty purgatory with our prayers.”

When Padre Pio celebrated Mass, during the time of the prayers for the living and the deceased, he would pause for an extended period of silence. At times, the Lord enlightened him regarding the state of those who had already passed away. He once said to Father Alessio Parente, “You are going to be amazed to find souls in heaven who you would never have expected to find there.”

In the monastery of Our Lady of Grace, there was a wooden box mounted to the wall with a notice above it reminding the Capuchins to pray for the deceased. A categorical list was posted, which included souls of deceased priests, souls close to heaven, forgotten souls, etc. Small disks were inside the wooden box with numbers on them referring to the category of souls to pray for. Regularly, Padre Pio would take a disk from the box and pause in silence as he devoutly recited the prayer for the deceased – Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.✙

As an American soldier, Joe Peluso was stationed in southern Italy during World War II. One day at the base, he received a letter from his mother who told him that there was a holy priest named Padre Pio living in Italy. She did not know what part of Italy he lived in but she wanted Joe to find out and to visit him. Joe asked the military chaplain on the base if he knew anything about Padre Pio.

The military chaplain started laughing and pointed to the mountain that was directly in front of them. “Padre Pio lives right on that mountain,” he said to Joe. One day, curiosity got the better of Joe and he decided to make the short trip to see Padre Pio. It was October 6, 1944.

Padre Pio loved the visits of the American soldiers and always greeted them cordially. His counsel to the soldiers was unique. He often used simple and childlike words when talking to them and giving them advice. Sometimes he would pat them on the head in a paternal way and simply say, “Be a good boy.”

Joe was able to visit Padre Pio many times and the two became very close. Often, he was invited to eat with the Capuchins at the monastery. While everyone else enjoyed their food, Joe noticed that Padre Pio simply pushed his food around on the plate. Padre Pio once said, “I need very little of this world’s goods. I need just a little bit of food, a little sleep and few possessions.”

It was Padre Pio’s habit to give a religious medal to the pilgrims who came to the monastery to see him. Because of the war, religious medals and rosaries became scarce and almost impossible to acquire. Padre Pio felt very bad that his supply of medals was exhausted and he had none to give his visitors.

During his frequent visits to the monastery, Joe had become acquainted with Mary Pyle. He and Mary tried to think of a way to replenish Padre Pio’s supply of medals. Joe decided to take the 220-mile trip from his military base to Rome to see if he could acquire the medals. Padre Pio and Padre Pio’s brother Michael both gave him letters to deliver to their sister, Sister Pia. She was a nun of the Order of St. Bridget and lived in the Brigittine Convent in Rome.

When Joe arrived in Rome, something prompted him to follow a road leading up a hill. As he drove up the hill, he saw a large sign which said, “Cloistered Motherhouse of the Benedictine Nuns.” Joe remembered that the St. Benedict medals were a favorite of Padre Pio. Joe knocked on the door and the nuns who greeted him were extremely happy to give him a large supply of medals for Padre Pio.

On one occasion, Padre Pio asked Joe to select a name for his guardian angel. “Pick a name for your guardian angel and call him by that name always,” Padre Pio said to Joe.“When you send him to me, he will come instantly.”

One day Joe asked Padre Pio if he would accept him as his spiritual child and Padre Pio readily agreed. Joe then asked Padre Pio if he would accept his wife as his spiritual child and he agreed as well. Realizing the wonderful opportunity that was at hand, he next asked Padre Pio if he would accept his daughter. Joe thought about his aunts and uncles and realized that they needed to be mentioned as well. Somehow, the way the conversation was going struck Joe and Padre Pio as funny. They began to laugh.

They laughed so hard that tears were rolling down their faces. Suddenly Padre Pio became very serious and said to Joe:

“Joe, when the war is over and you return to the United States, tell the American people that for those who would like me to be their spiritual father, my answer is yes. I accept all Americans as my spiritual children. I only have two requirements – that they lead very good Catholic lives and that they regularly receive the sacraments. And please, tell them never to embarrass me in front of Jesus and Mary. You must tell them, Joe.”

Joe felt that it was an impossible request. He lived in a very small town in Pennsylvania. He was not an important person. He did not know many people. How could he tell all of America what Padre Pio had asked him to? Nevertheless, when he returned to the U.S. he tried to do what was asked of him. He made a slide show presentation of Padre Pio’s life and over the years, he showed it to thousands of people. Joe died in 1996, after having spent fifty years sharing the message of Padre Pio with more people than he could have ever imagined.

Ray Neameyer was a military pilot who was stationed in Italy during World War II. He visited San Giovanni Rotondo and felt honored to meet Padre Pio. Once, when Ray was flying a twin engine fighter known as a P38, one of the engines blew up during the flight. Black smoke was pouring out of the plane, indicating the extreme danger of the situation. Luckily, he managed to return to the base on one engine.

Later, the head mechanic who worked on Ray’s plane confided in him. He told him that he had worked as a mechanic for many years and had witnessed a number of serious aircraft accidents. Referring to Ray’s safe landing, the mechanic said, “That was an act of God if ever I saw one!” Before Ray had left San Giovanni Rotondo, Padre Pio had put his hand on his head in a blessing. He did the same to the other soldiers who were with Ray. He prayed that they would all return home safely.✙

Corporal Joe Asterita was an American serviceman who was stationed in Cerignola, Italy during World War II. Along with other soldiers in his squadron, Joe used to visit Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo when he had the opportunity. Joe was fluent in Italian with the added benefit of being able to understand the dialect of those who lived in San Giovanni Rotondo. He often translated for the other GI’s who wanted to speak to Padre Pio.

On one occasion, Padre Pio told Joe that five people who had visited the monastery needed a ride back to their homes in Foggia. He asked Joe to drive them back. Joe told Padre Pio that it was against United States Army regulations to use military vehicles to provide transportation for civilians. Padre Pio was very firm and insisted that Joe do him the favor. Joe carefully considered the matter but finally decided against it. The risk of getting caught was too great. “Army regulations forbid me to transport those who are non-military. I am sorry but I cannot break the rule,” Joe said.

Speaking with authority, Padre Pio then said to Joe, “Remember this. Anytime I ask you to do something for me, it will work out. You need have no fear.” Joe was finally convinced. He then allowed the two men, two women and a little boy to get into his military jeep.

Shortly after they were on the road, Joe saw two Military Police Officers coming in their direction. The Military Police Officers looked in the jeep but passed right on by without stopping Joe. At that moment, the air became filled with a delightful perfume. As they continued on the road to Foggia, they encountered one Military Police Officer after another, but they were never pulled over. The fragrant perfume stayed in the air until the five Italian citizens were dropped off safely in Foggia.✙

“Let us always keep before our eyes the fact that here on earth we are on a battlefield and that in paradise we shall receive the crown of victory; that this is a testing-ground and the prize will be awarded up above; that we are now in a land of exile while our true homeland is heaven to which we must continually aspire.”

St. Pio of Pietrelcina.

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