Stigmata of Padre Pio - miracle or fraud? (9 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
13 June 2024

Church representatives at different times resorted to deception to strengthen their influence. But in a series of funny claims about miracles, there is one case that raises questions.

Francesco Forgione, better known as Padre Pio, was born on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy. Once and forever he attracted the attention of the entire Christian world as a priest with stigmata.

Francesco Forgione

In young age

Already in early childhood he felt close to God. The boy slept on the stone floor and used the stone pillow as one of his many forms of strengthening his spirit. His mother claimed that the child could communicate with Jesus, the Virgin Mary and his guardian angel. Sometimes he had celestial visions that brought him to ecstasy. For Francesco this was absolutely normal, and he believed that all people did the same.

He was not in good health and constantly contracted various diseases. Relatives said that at night strange sounds were heard from his room... Similar to screams and roars. When Francesco prayed, he seemed to be in a state of trance and did not notice anything around him.

First stigmata

First stigmata

By 1910, Francesco had become a priest and became known to the world as Padre Pio. Around this time he developed his first stigmata. He subsequently wrote:

Something happened last night that I can neither explain nor understand. A red mark about the size of a coin appeared in the middle of the palms of my hands, accompanied by a sharp pain in the middle of the red mark. The pain was more pronounced in the middle of my left arm, so much so that I can still feel it.

He always believed that suffering is the soul’s path to God. But he felt humiliated by the visible wounds and prayed to accept the pain, but for the “unbearable humiliation” of the visible wounds to pass. This is why he was often seen wearing gloves.

The stigmata came and went, but on September 20, 1918, they returned and remained for the last 50 years of his life.

Discussions and disputes

Stigmata have become the center of debate between believers and critics. Many doctors examined him, but no one could determine the cause of the strange wounds. The wounds were described as exuding a wonderful aroma, and that Padre Pio had the unique ability to read a person's soul. As his fame grew, so did his claims.

He was accused of insanity, sexual relations with women, misuse of funds and claimed that his stigmata were burned out with carbolic acid... just to become famous. Even the Holy See claimed that the events that took place in his life were not of divine origin.

The Vatican began to shun Pio, but the army of his supporters only continued to grow. It was only after 1934 that the Vatican decided to take another look at Padre Pio as a man who may have had special qualities of the divine nature.

Miracles of Padre Pio

In 1947, Gemma de Giorgi, accompanied by her grandmother, came to Padre Pio. Gemma was born without pupils. The grandmother begged the padre that God would restore her granddaughter’s sight. Pio told her: “The child should not cry, and you should not cry either, because the child sees, and you know that she sees.” Doctors were never able to determine how Gemma regained her sight.

In 1962, then-Bishop Wojtyla asked Padre Pio to pray for his friend, Dr. Wanda Poltawa, who was suffering from cancer. Soon after this, Poltavskaya’s cancer regressed, leaving doctors at a loss.

As the 1960s wore on, Pio's health began to deteriorate. On September 23, 1968, he died. Interestingly, shortly before his death, he constantly repeated “Gesu, Maria” (Jesus, Mary). He claimed to see two mothers (it was believed that these were his mother and Maria). Finally, at 2:30 a.m., he breathed his last, whispering “Mary!”

Miracles are attributed to him that occurred even after his death. In October 1996, Consiglia De Martino was diagnosed with a rare disease that left her neck swollen. A large scar was also visible on her collarbone. After consultation with doctors, it was determined that the left lymphatic duct was destroyed and was leaking fluid into the body. Doctors scheduled an operation for November 2 to repair the damage, otherwise the woman would die. After the diagnosis, Consiglia turned to Padre Pio in prayer, with whom she had always felt a kinship. According to her, she felt his strong presence, as well as the smell of perfume. She recalled that when she fell asleep, she dreamed that he put his hands on her and said: “Don’t worry, I’ll operate on you.” The next morning she woke up recovered. Doctors immediately carried out examinations, but were puzzled by the miraculous change in the patient’s condition. She never seemed to get sick.

Declaration as a Saint

After an investigation by the Vatican, it was considered a miracle. It was this event that prompted the now Pope John Paul II to give permission to proclaim Pio a saint. On June 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II did this. More than 300,000 people attended the ceremony.

Fraud or miracle worker?

Critics continue to claim that the man was a fraud. However, numerous examinations by doctors were unable to identify the cause of the stigmata. If the stigmata were self-inflicted, could he really have continued the deception for 50 years without the truth eventually coming out?

What about inexplicable healings that are considered miracles? Was it divine intervention through Padre Pio or simply the power of faith? There is no exact answer. Despite the ongoing controversy between skeptics and believers and the mysteries surrounding this priest, he continues to be one of the most popular saints of Catholicism.

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