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Saturday 31 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius Loyola
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Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

Spiritual Guide and Friend of the Poor


Lucia Dughetti / CC BY-NC 2.0

Capuchin Franciscan Priest (1887-1968)

His life

+ The man who would come to be known throughout the world simple as “Padre Pio” entered the Capuchin Franciscans in 1903.

+ Shortly after his ordination in 1910, he began experiencing pains in his hands and feet. The following year, he admitted that he had “invisible stigmata for over a year.”

+ In 1918, Pio had the mystical experience of “transverberation” (being pierced by a lance), which left a wound in his side that bled continuously. A month later, the stigmata in his hands and feet became visible and remained so until his last Mass, celebrated on the day before he died.

+ Placed under close scrutiny by Church authorities, he was suspended from all priestly functions (apart from saying Mass privately) for two years.

+ People continuously flocked to the friar, seeking guidance and to make their confession. Pope Pius XII encouraged him to form prayer groups among the faithful. In 1940, Padre Pio helped establish a great hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, not far from his friary.

+ Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968. He was canonized in 2002, at which time his memorial was added to the liturgical calendar.

For prayer and reflection

He wants you entirely for Himself, He wants you to place all your trust and all your affection in Him alone and it is precisely for this reason that He send you this spiritual aridity, to unite you more closely to Him.”—Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

Spiritual bonus

On this day, the Church also remembers Blessed Émilie Tavernier Gamelin. Born in Montreal, Canada, she married and became the mother of three sons. Following the death of her husband and children, she opened her home to the poor, orphans, the mentally ill, and the destitute. This work of service grew into the Sisters of Providence. Blessed Émilie died in 1851 and was beatified in 2001.


Almighty ever-living God, who, by a singular grace,
gave the Priest Saint Pio a share in the Cross of your Son
and, by means of his ministry,
renewed the wonders of your mercy,
grant that through his intercession
we may be united constantly to the sufferings of Christ,
and so brought happily to the glory of the resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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