Padre Pio and the General - A Study in Bilocation


Published in the November, 2011 issue of Catholic Family News

and in The Voice of Padre Pio, Jan-Feb. 2012, published by his Friary

by Frank Rega

It is a little known fact, even among Padre Pio devotees, that not long before he received the visible stigmata in 1918, he was drafted into the Italian army. But the tenure of the great saint’s tour of duty during World War I was greatly shortened by his chronic ill-health. He was declared fit only for non-combat duty within Italy, and was assigned to the Medical Corps, where the sickly and very unhappy private was only considered capable of menial tasks such as janitorial duties. He was repeatedly hospitalized and given more than one leave-of-absence for convalescence because of his incurable lung-related infirmities. In fact, the total time of his active duty amounted to only one hundred eighty-two days over a two and one-half year period. 1

During the summer and fall of 1917, he was assigned to the military barracks at Naples, which at that time was under the overall command of General Luigi Cadorna, Chief of Staff. Cadorna was engaged on the northern front, personally leading hundreds of thousands of Italian troops that had been stalemated for years on the Austrian-Italian frontier. Then, on October 24, 1917, the German forces combined with the Austrians to launch a surprise attack along the front, culminating in the infamous battle of Caporetto. It was a disastrous defeat for the Italians, who had to retreat south almost to Venice. Their staggering loses included forty thousand casualties, with almost three hundred thousand troops taken prisoner, and even more than that number fleeing in retreat.

The Italian lines finally held on November 7 at the Piave River, but on the next day the monarchy relieved Cadorna of his command, replacing him with Armando Diaz as Chief of Staff. The battle of Caporetto is considered the most humiliating military defeat in Italian history. On the 9th of the month, Cadorna packed his bags and prepared to leave for Rome.





Read the complete article in the above book, available in print or Kindle format.



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Frank Rega is the author of:  Padre Pio and America,
St. Francis of Assisi and the Conversion of the Muslims,

The Greatest Catholic President: Garcia Moreno of Ecuador
  Life of the Mystic Luisa Piccarreta - Journeys in the Divine Will 
vols. 1 and 2
Life of the Mystic Luisa Piccarreta - volume 3 in preparation
 The Truth about Padre Pio's Stigmata and Other Wonders of the Saint
Vatican II, Evolution, and Medjugorje: Hubris, Heresy, and Mystery



This page was last updated on 02/09/14