Saint Pio was born of simple, hardworking farming people on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Southern Italy. He was tutored privately until his entry into the Capuchin Friars at the age of 15. Of feeble health but strong will and with the help of grace, he completed the required studies and was ordained a priest in 1910. On September 20, 1918, the five wounds of Our Lord’s Passion appeared on his body, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. Countless numbers were attracted to his confessional, and many more received his saintly and spiritual guidance through correspondence. His whole life was marked by long hours of prayer and continual austerity. His letters to his spiritual directors reveal the ineffable sufferings, physical and spiritual, which accompanied him all through his life. They also reveal his very deep union with God, his burning love for the Blessed Eucharist and our Blessed Lady. Worn out by over half a century of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity in San Giovanni Rotondo, he was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968.
The steps taken in the Process of Padre Pio’s Canonization are the following: March 20, 1983, the diocesan Process was begun; January 21, 1990, the aforesaid Process was closed; Sunday May 2, 1990, John Paul II declared Padre Pio Blessed; June 16, 2002, the same Pope declared Padre Pio Saint.