My Grandfather Told me to Pray to Padre Pio

My grandfather, George Bartoli, went to see Padre Pio twice in his life, the first time in 1957. He was able to make his confession to Padre Pio. Usually confessions to Padre Pio lasted just a few minutes, but after the confession was over, Padre Pio and my grandfather talked for a long time. It seemed as though Padre Pio was very happy to speak with him and was in no hurry to end the conversation. My grandfather was from the northern part of Italy. He and Padre Pio talked about many things, including the wine and good food from the northern region of Italy. My grandfather had a handkerchief with him of a friend who was dying of cancer. He spoke to Padre Pio about her. “She will be in Paradise soon,” Padre Pio said. Then he blessed the handkerchief saying that perhaps it would comfort her. My grandfather had always been a worrier. “Stay calm,” Padre Pio repeated to him over and over. My grandfather said that Padre Pio had very piercing, dark eyes.

It was through my grandfather’s love for Padre Pio that I came to know and love him as well. I had drifted away from my Catholic faith and had become involved in the New Age movement. My husband and I separated and then divorced. I was living alone with my daughter and I was depressed. My grandfather was praying very hard for me to return to my faith.

I began to have double vision and then blurry vision and finally no vision at all. I was ready to get a seeing-eye dog. The doctor thought that I had a stroke but later I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular disease. The muscles in my eyelids became so weak that I could not even hold them open. I was set to have an operation on my eyes but there was no guarantee that my sight would be restored. My grandfather drove me to a final doctor appointment before the surgery. He gave me a relic of Padre Pio and told me to pray to him. I went into the examination room and before the doctor came in, I held the relic over my eyes and prayed and begged Padre Pio to heal me. My grandfather was in the waiting room, praying for me.

The doctor examined my eyes and then left the room. He came back and examined them one more time and then left the room again. He came in a third time with another doctor who also examined my eyes. Then they both left. I was quite scared. The doctor came in once again and told me that he wanted to cancel my surgery because he believed that I did not need the operation. The surgery was cancelled. I began to get my vision back and it improved daily. The biggest miracle of all was that because of the healing of my eyes, my faith was restored and also my marriage. My husband and I reconciled and were reunited after being apart for over five years.

Claudia Bartolli-McKinney

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