The First Newspaper Accounts of Padre Pio (1919)

People believed that he, like Christ, would die at age 33

The first newspaper reports on Padre Pio appeared eight months after his stigmatization.

Translated from "Un Tormentato Settennio (1981-1925) Nella Vita di Padre Pio da Pietrelcina", Doctoral dissertation of Gerardo Saldutto, 1974, pp. 223-224. (Saldutto’s many footnotes are not included. See disclaimer on translation below or at

The first news article on Padre Pio goes back to Friday, May 9, 1919, and is from the daily Roman newspaper, "Il giornale d'Italia". In a brief sketch, without a writer's name, entitled "The Miracles of a Capuchin of San Giovanni Rotondo", is presented "the humble Capuchin", a "saint", esteemed by the people for his prophetic spirit, his clairvoyance, his ubiquity, his ecstasies. If these phenomena could be doubted, one however is quite visible: the stigmata. The common people, who in crowds and on pilgrimage flow into the monastery, believe in the holiness of the monk, while "cultivated people and the clergy maintain a strict reserve, waiting for the authoritative judgement of the Church".

The Father Guardian of the Friary [Padre P. Paolino] affirmed, in his memoirs, that it was not the friars who broke the news to the papers. He surmised that the author was a priest goaded by the intention of spreading the news, "in order to gain the attention of the Holy See and push them to make a careful inquiry over an event of such great importance. But instead the article drew the attention of other journalists who in their turn published the sensational news and spread it throughout the world". In a footnote, the same Padre Paolino adds: "It appears that it is said that the priest was D. Giovanni Miscio. I however cannot attest to it since I do not have positive proof".

The 25 of May, which was coincidentally the birthday of Padre Pio, it was the turn of "Il Foglietto", the weekly paper of the area, edited at Lucera, which was the paper most appreciated and known in the province. It presented an organized and faithful portrait of San Giovanni Rotondo, a town which was now becoming famous not for its brigands but rather for the merit of a humble little friar, Padre Pio of "Pietra Arcina", who arrived about two years ago. He is esteemed as a saint by almost all the population, and many come from all parts of Italy. The 20th of September of last year, he received the stigmata, from which issue blood, especially from his chest, and in a particular way on Friday, on which day it is possible to perceive a rustic perfume which emanates from his person. The Father Guardian references that Padre Pio vomits all the food that he consumes, and Dr. Merla affirms that when Padre Pio is ill his temperature reaches about 120 degrees. He has come to be called "the Saint", is 32 and a half hears old, and the people believe he will die, like Christ, at age 33. He has no special education but possesses an appealing manner.

The author then narrates a miracle occurring through the intercession of Padre Pio; a young girl from Barletta was suddenly cured after the assurances received in a vision from a friar of San Giovanni Rotondo. Her doctor went to San Giovanni to verify the existence of such a friar.

The article closed emphasizing the absence of fanaticism and exaltation on the part of the public and on the part of the author, who preferred to remain anonymous signing himself "Argo", an attempt that was in vain since the an official of San Severo, Dr. D'Alena, identified him: "he is Dr. Leandro Giuva, veterinarian of the commune" of San Giovanni Rotondo.

 Controversial, bold and thought-provoking, the above book is 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

Disclaimer All translations in any of my Web pages made from various Italian language sources are intended as an informal, good faith sharing from my own personal notes, and are not otherwise authorized, official, or presented as completely accurate.

This page was last updated on 02/14/14
Copyright 2002 Frank M. Rega

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