By Michael P. May
It has been documented by several authors that Padre Pio once told his confessor, Padre Augustino, that he had daily encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Michael the Archangel and his own guardian angel. He went on to say that this had been occurring for as long as he could remember. Years before, he thought it not important to mention his heavenly visitors because he believed this happened to everyone.
Padre Pio had the ability, not only to communicate with, but also to see into the angelic world almost at will and at any time. This great gift, which was granted him, was not only attributable to his outstanding sanctity but also to the power and authority of the priesthood. Another great Franciscan priest, St. Anthony of Padua is reported to have said, “Thus will it be with those who place their entire trust in Jesus Christ. They will be favored with heavenly visions; they will live in the company of angels.”
Padre Pio and the Guardian Angels
There have been many documented cases that verify the famed stigmatist’s communications with guardian angels. For example, on one occasion a man and his wife sent their guardian angels with their requests to Padre Pio. On seeing him sometime later, they questioned him about whose angel had arrived first. The padre not only answered correctly, but to the man’s astonishment, was able to give the exact time the guardian angels were sent and the time they arrived. Padre Pio said to the man, “You see, your guardian angels are more obedient than you. When you tell them to do something they do it.”
Padre Pio was permitted by God on some occasions even to distribute additional guardian angels to those in special need. He once said, “You know when I have such pain at Mass that I can hardly turn the pages of the sacramentary, there are angels who help me with it.”
Padre Pio and the Prince of the Fallen Angels
In August, 1975, I accompanied Joey Lomangino’s annual pilgrimage to the shrines of Europe. During the tour’s stop at San Giovanni Rotondo, we had the good fortune of dining with Padre Alessio Parente, who took personal care of Padre Pio in the last six years of his life. I said to Padre Alessio, “Is it true that on a few occasions the devil actually came and beat Padre Pio?” He immediately responded, “This is not true! The devil came every day and beat Padre Pio.” He said that when this occurred, the whole monastery would shake. He knew what was happening and would run to Padre Pio’s room only to find him lying on the floor severely beaten and often in a pool of blood.
Padre Pio and St. Michael
Padre Pio would suffer these beatings just as Jesus did when beaten for the salvation of souls. He would endure the punishment for as long as he could, then he would cry out to Jesus for mercy. At that moment St. Michael would appear and Satan would be gone. The famed stigmatist often feared that Satan would kill him. Considering the frequency of the diabolical attacks, St. Michael might be considered a special guardian of Padre Pio’s life.
The Blessed Virgin told us at Garabandal to increase devotion to St. Michael. Padre Pio had recourse to the great heavenly warrior. We too, therefore, must turn to the Prince of the Heavenly Hosts for help in these troubled times when the powers of darkness are running so rampant throughout the world.
A Canonization Date is Set For Blessed Padre Pio
The Vatican announced the canonization of the Capuchin monk, Padre Pio in Rome on June 16, 2002.