My family and extended family are from Italy and some of them knew Padre Pio. My grandfather, Cosmo Orlando, who was a farmer, remembered Padre Pio from the early days. He said that Padre Pio was always the one boy who acted as mediator when disputes rose among friends.
My father was twelve years old when he moved to America. His mother took him to the monastery to say goodbye to Padre Pio. My father remembers vividly taking hold of Padre Pio’s hand when saying goodbye to him.
In 1958, while on deck in a baseball contest, I was struck in the head with the bat from the player who had just struck out at the plate. I was eight years old at the time. I suffered a double skull fracture and underwent an eight-hour operation. My life was in the hands of two wonderful neurosurgeons, Dr. Greenberg and Dr. Fromm. Although, I survived the operation, Dr.Greenberg informed my mother that the prognosis was very dim. I probably would suffer permanent brain damage and thus a normal life was not likely.
My grandfather, who had an undying belief in Padre Pio, possessed one of his gloves. It was placed on my forehead in the hospital. When I was released from the hospital, I continued my recuperation and a month later I was able to return to school. After that, I never looked back, even though a plate was inserted in my head the following year. I remained under Dr. Greenberg’s care until I turned twenty-one years old. He always told my mother and myself that he could not explain my recovery, especially since a part of my brain had to be removed from the left lobe. Dr. Greenberg used to say that someone else or something else assisted me. He concluded that my recovery was a medical miracle. My father retains the glove of Padre Pio to this day.
– Joseph Orlando