Padre Pio was born on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy. He was baptised with the name of his brother, Francesco Forgione, who had died in early infancy. Both his parents were devout Catholics, and raised Padre Pio and his siblings in a loving, faith-centred home. From an early age, the saint expressed his desire to dedicate his life to God as a friar. At the age of 15, he joined the Capuchin Friars novitiate, where he was given the name "Pio", and at 23, was ordained a priest. In 1916, Padre Pio was assigned to the monastery at San Giovanni Rotondo, in the Gargano mountains, where he stayed until the end of his days. During World War I, Padre Pio offered himself to God as a victim for the end of the great war. Soon thereafter, on September 20, 1918, he received the stigmata (the five wounds of Christ). These healed only at the time of his death, 50 years later.
The saint received many other spiritual gifts, such as the ability to read men’s hearts, bilocation, and visions of Our Lord, Our Lady and the angels. Due to these gifts, and to the good that he was accomplishing through their use, Padre Pio underwent many trials and persecutions: for several years he was forbidden to celebrate Mass and hear confessions; he was often physically attacked by the devil and underwent severe temptations; and some of his superiors doubted his integrity.
Padre Pio spent his life in doing good works for the faithful, who flocked from many different parts of the world to see this holy man, make their confessions to him and seek his spiritual guidance. He performed many healing miracles, comforted the afflicted with his counsel, and brought joy and peace to those who became his spiritual children.
Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968, at the age of 81, after several years of suffering from a deteriorating health. His Requiem Mass was attended by more than 100,000 people.