Padre Pio

Mosaic of Padre Pio

I haven’t heard the reverberations yet from the almost unprecedented resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

There certainly will be some, but possibly less here than in some parts of Italy.

Here, in shops, public offices and private homes, the image of Padre Pio, a Catholic saint who died in 1968, is the one you’re most likely to find.

He sits alongside a crucifix or an image of the Virgin Mary, or sometimes he’s on his own.

He claims to have had visible stigmata and to have suffered the pain of other torments of Christ – the scourging and the crown of thorns.

He was the subject of much controversy; the accusations of fraud levelled against him were finally dismissed by Pope Paul VI.

He had a huge following of devotees in his lifetime as well as after his death.

“Pray, hope and don’t worry,” was his famous advice, and these words are often found alongside his photograph and quoted at apt moments.

He is the patron saint of stress relief.

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