When Padre Pio died in 1968, he was receiving five thousand letters per month. Padre Pio received so many letters which were saved by the friars that they built a storehouse as large as a garage in which to keep them. There were an estimated two million letters from around the world.
When Padre Pio heard about the growing number of radical priests, nuns, and laity, as well as dissent from Catholic teaching and the lack of vocations, he was reported to have remarked more than once: “Thank God I am old and near death!” Padre Pio urged the frequent recitation of the prayer, “O Jesus, save the elect in the hour of darkness.” And contrary to what some have said, Padre Pio never celebrated the New Mass. Padre Pio died in 1968; the New Mass wasn’t promulgated until April 3, 1969.
Since Padre Pio was so well known and sought after for his extraordinary gifts from God (he was the most photographed person in the world at his time), it’s not surprising that certain people – perhaps to advance a particular agenda – have circulated certain stories about him which are not true. Certain people claim that he said and did certain things which, in fact, he never said or did. For instance, it was widely circulated that Padre Pio supposedly told a particular person that “one day you will be Pope,” when he never did. The person who was supposedly told this by Padre Pio later publicly admitted in a prominent magazine that Padre Pio never said this to him. Some claimed that Padre Pio made a prophecy about the three days of darkness, when he didn’t. Others claim that Padre Pio respected false religions, or admired those who practiced them. This is not true; it finds no basis in, and is contradicted by, his personal letters which show that he absolutely rejected a false ecumenical religion and held that the Catholic Faith is necessary. Of course Padre Pio didn’t respect other religions or admire those who practiced them, for then he would be testifying that all his efforts and sufferings (such as hearing confessions, which he held to be necessary to forgive serious sins) were meaningless.
Perhaps as a warning of the growing Great Apostasy, a few days before his death, when greeted by a spiritual daughter, Padre Pio placed his hand on her head and said twice in a forceful way: “Daughter, be constant and persevering in the faith of our fathers.”
Shortly before his death, on September 23, 1968, the wounds of Padre Pio’s stigmata miraculously healed up. By the time Padre Pio died, there were no traces of the stigmata. Doctor Sala declared that the healing of the wounds was clinically unexplainable. Padre Pio had always wanted the stigmata to be invisible and Jesus granted his prayer at the very end of his life. Fr. Onorato pointed out well that as the ministry of Padre Pio was ending, the signs were also ending. On the evening before the death of Padre Pio, the crypt that would hold his body was completed and blessed. During the four days and nights after the death of Padre Pio around two hundred thousand people passed before the casket of Padre Pio.
For most prospective Saints, the cause for Canonization includes about five cartons of documentation that is submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. In Padre Pio’s case, over one hundred cartons of documentation were initially submitted.
In 1968, when Padre Pio died, he left behind a huge hospital called The Home for the Relief of Suffering, which the New York Times described as “one of the most beautiful as well as one of the most modern and fully-equipped hospitals in the world.” His legacy included 726 prayer groups with 68,000 members. There are also twenty-two Padre Pio centers for handicapped children and one center for the blind. As an example of the profound influence of his life, in 1997 six and a half million people visited Padre Pio’s tomb.
Padre Pio said what he would do after he died. “I have made a pact with the Lord: when my soul has been purified in the flames of purgatory and deemed worthy to be admitted to the presence of God, I will take my place at the gate to paradise, but I shall not enter until I have seen the last of my spiritual children enter.”
 C. Bernard Ruffin, Padre Pio: The True Story, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN. p. 13.
 Fr. John A. Schug, Padre Pio, National Centre for Padre Pio, Barto, PA. p. 167.
 C. Bernard Ruffin, Padre Pio: The True Story, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN. p. 364.
 Fr. Stefano Manelli, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Franciscans of the Immaculate, New Bedford, MA., p. 113.
 Fifty Years of Thorns and Roses (video). National Centre for Padre Pio, Barto, PA.
 Fr. Stefano Manelli, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Franciscans of the Immaculate, New Bedford, MA., p. 112.
 Padre Pio The Wonder Worker, Our Lady’s Chapel, New Bedford, MA. p. 44.
 Gennaro Preziuso, The Life of Padre Pio, Society of St. Pauls, Staten Island, NY. p. 214.
 Fr. John A. Schug, Padre Pio, National Centre for Padre Pio, Barto, PA. p. 241.
 Padre Pio The Wonder Worker, Our Lady’s Chapel, New Bedford, MA. p. 43.
 Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus Christ, The Leaflet Missal Company, St. Paul, MN. p. 26.
 Padre Pio The Wonder Worker, Our Lady’s Chapel, New Bedford, MA. p. XII.
 C. Bernard Ruffin, Padre Pio: The True Story, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN. p. 286.
 Patricia Treece, Quiet Moments with Padre Pio, Servant Publications, Ann Arbor, MI. #120.
 Gennaro Preziuso, The Life of Padre Pio, Society of St. Pauls, Staten Island, NY. p. 197.
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