Here’s why Padre Pio’s father went to New York

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He only lived there for a few years and then went back to Italy…

Padre Pio was born to a poor peasant family in the rural town of Pietrelcina, Italy. They had little money and his parents could not read or write. However, Pio’s parents had high hopes their son could one day follow his calling to be a priest.

As a young boy Pio had related to his parents a desire to become a religious and they asked a local Capuchin community of friars if they would accept him. At the time Pio only had about three years of public school education and the friars said he needed more in order to be admitted.

Convinced his son was destined to become a priest, Padre Pio’s father, Grazio, made it his priority to earn the money Pio needed for a decent education. Instead of searching for local work, Grazio went to the “Land of Opportunity,” the United States of America.

Grazio worked as a laborer in Jamaica, Long Island, New York, as well as Flushing, New York. With his work in New York, he was able to send enough money back to secure a teacher for Pio. A tutor was able to educate Pio enough that at the age of 15, Pio entered the Capuchin novitiate on January 6, 1903, and began his road to the priesthood.

According to a relative of the family, “When [Grazio] got back to Pietrelcina people would ask, ‘Where did you find work, where did you stay?’ So a small Italian enclave developed there in Flushing.” This is why some relatives of Padre Pio moved to New York, creating a unique relationship between a popular Italian saint and the United States.

Consequently, one of the most popular saints of all time was only able to become a priest because of the hard work of his father in New York.