Blessed Padre Pio
Blessed Padre Pio was born May 25, 1887 at Pietrelcina in the Province of Benevento. From his earliest childhood he showed a recollection of spirit and a love for the things of God, seeing Him in the beauty of the clouds and the stars and loving to hear of His goodness. He was ordained in the Cathedral of Benevento on August 10, 1910.
...On Friday, the 20th of September 1918, there happened to him an event that not only changed his whole life, but that singled him out from the rest of humanity. He was praying in his stall in the choir when suddenly the monks heard a piercing cry. On running to find the cause of the commotion, they came upon Padre Pio lying unconscious on the floor in the choir loft, his hands, his feet and his side marked with deep, bleeding wounds. He was carried to his cell where he gradually recovered consciousness, begging his brothers to keep his secret. The Stigmata remained for the rest of his life. He was the first priest to ever have received the Stigmata. He bore it for 50 years.
...He was also the only known priest who had such a variety of gifts as the gift of perfume, of conversion, of bilocation, of discernment of spirits, and of penetrating the future.
It is difficult and, indeed, nearly impossible to describe the Mass of Padre Pio. Many have tried without too much success. Padre Pio wasn't an ordinary priest, but a creature in pain who renews the Passion of Christ, with the devotion and radiance of one who is inspired by God. (From Who Is Padre Pio? Available through Our Lady's Book Service for $1.95)
Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968. The cause for his beatification was opened by the Bishop of Manfredonia in 1969 and this took place May 2, 1999 with a beatification ceremony in St. Peter's Square in Rome. Here are the actual words by which the Holy Father formally beatified Padre Pio:
After having received the opinion of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, we respond to the desire of our brother Vicenzo da Dario, Archbishop of Manfredonia, and of many other brothers in the Episcopate and of many faithful, and with our apostolic authority allow that the Venerable Servant of God, Pio of Pietrelcina, henceforth be called Blessed, and that his feast be celebrated in those places and according to the rules established by law, on the day of his birth in Heaven, September 23.