On Saturday Pope Francis said St. Padre Pio is a key example of someone who has given their entire life in the service of God’s mercy, but cautioned that there is only one reason he was able to do so: prayer.
“We can say that Padre Pio was a servant of mercy. He did so full-time, practicing, at times in exhaustion, the apostolate of listening,” the Pope said Feb. 6.
Through his ministry in the confessional, where he would at times spend 10-15 hours a day, the saint was able to become “a caress of the living Father, who heals the wounds of sin and refreshes the heart with peace.”
Francis said Padre Pio never tired of welcoming and listening to the people who came to him. He said the saint spent his time and strength spreading “the perfume of the forgiveness of the Lord.”
The only reason Padre Pio was able to do this, he said, is because “he was always attached to the source: he was continuously quenched by Jesus Crucified, and so became a channel of mercy.”
“In this way his small drop became a great river of mercy, which irrigated many dry hearts and created an oasis of life in many parts of the world.
Pope Francis spoke to members of “Padre Pio prayer groups,” workers at the Home to Relieve Suffering – founded by St. Pio in 1956 – and faithful from the Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo archdiocese who were present in St. Peter’s Square.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina, colloquially known as “Padre Pio,” was a priest of the Order of the Friars Minor Capuchin, a stigmatist, and a mystic, who lived from 1887-1968. He was beatified in 1999, and canonized in 2002 by St. John Paul II. He was born in Pietrelcina, but ministered in San Giovanni Rotondo from 1916 until his death.
The papal audience with the different groups associated with Padre Pio marks just one of several activities being held in honor of the fact that the relics of Padre Pio have made their way to Rome for the first time alongside those of another friar, St. Leopold Mandic, as part of a special tour during the Jubilee of Mercy.