Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 06 May |
Saint of the Day: St. François Montmorency de Laval
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Padre Pio was known as a “nerd” during childhood


Renata Sedmakova | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 01/08/21

He was also viewed by childhood playmates as an “unsalted piece of macaroni.”

When thinking about the famous St. Padre Pio, the word “nerd,” doesn’t usually get used. However, that is exactly how is he was described by someone who knew him as a child.

In the biography Padre Pio: The True Story published by Our Sunday Visitor, the saint’s early childhood is described in colorful terms. It clearly shows how he began life as “a boy like any other.

This was revealed by those who knew him, particularly families who would interact with him on a daily basis. For example, as a child Padre Pio would play with children from neighboring farms. His childhood playmates remembered him fondly, but also thought of him as a regular boy.

Luigi Orlando recalled: “When he was with us, he never prayed. There was nothing particularly outstanding about him. With us he was a boy just like any other, [though] well-mannered and reserved.” Ubaldo Vecchariano characterized him as somewhat of a “nerd” — “submissive and reserved,” an “unsalted piece of macaroni.

The use of the word “nerd” is probably meant to explain Padre Pio as a “socially awkward” child. This was probably the case as he was known to abruptly run away when other children would start to use foul language.

Whenever another boy cursed or swore, Franci [Padre Pio] would run away. The same Luigi Orlando who described him as “a boy like any other,” recalled that once, when the two were wrestling, Luigi let escape from his lips “a strong expression,” whereupon Franci, who had pinned him to the ground, jumped up, and fled. Riparta Masone recalled that Graziella Forgione would, like her brother, leave the company of any child who cursed or misbehaved.

In a certain sense, his “nerdiness” was a positive attribute, making him stand out from the crowd for his deeply religious beliefs. He would possibly be called a “Catholic nerd” in today’s culture.

Suffice to say, his life shows that saints come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be a mystic to become a saint. Sometimes, you just need to be a “nerd.”


Read more:
Tech geek? Meet your new saintly friend, Venerable Carlo Acutis

Rarely seen photos of Padre Pio

Padre PioSaints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
Cerith Gardiner
7 Ways to strengthen your relationship with the Virgin Mary
Philip Kosloski
How to pray the Chaplet of St. Joseph
Matthew Becklo
Yes, ‘The Chosen’ is that good—and just keeps getting...
SAINT Januarius
J-P Mauro
Watch the blood of St. Januarius liquefy in May 2021
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.