Padre Pio Pressed my Crucifix to His Lips

I visited San Giovanni Rotondo and attended Padre Pio’s Mass several times, when as a U.S. soldier, I was stationed in Italy during World War II. The first time I met Padre Pio, I was very nervous and shaking in my boots. However, he smiled at me when we were introduced, and I lost all of my fear. Because I did not speak Italian, one of the Capuchins acted as translator. Padre Pio was very friendly and seemed happy to greet me. He had a wonderful sense of humor and often liked to tell innocent jokes. On several occasions, the other soldiers and I would walk with Padre Pio down the hall when he was on his way to hear the mens’ confessions. One time I asked him to bless a crucifix of mine. He took it and blessed it and then pressed it to his lips very hard before giving it back to me. Mary Pyle, his secretary, told me many things about Padre Pio’s life. She was a third order Franciscan and had a house just below the monastery. After Padre Pio’s Sunday Mass, a group of soldiers and I would visit Mary and she would serve us breakfast. I also met Padre Pio’s father at Mary Pyle’s house. He was a quiet man and I remember that he was able to speak some English. After the war was over and I returned to the U.S. Mary and I kept in touch through letters. When Mary and a friend of her’s came on a visit to the U.S. they visited me in Philadelphia.

Joe Revelas

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