Thursday, July 19, 2018

At Mass, He Saw Padre Pio Crowned with Thorns

At Mass, He saw Padre Pio crowned with thorns; until then he had considered him a fraud and charlatan.

While Padre Pio was still alive, there was a pious young girl who was engaged to a university student who had lost his faith, disdaining religious practices. She would not go through with marrying him unless he returned to the Church. They had argued about this incessantly but to no avail. Finally he consented to come to San Giovanni Rotondo with her, although he was quite cynical. He did not believe in the holiness of Padre Pio, considering him an impostor and charlatan.

They went to early Mass a the friary church, and on the first morning the girl was amazed to see her fiancé looking pale and shocked as he gazed at the altar during the Consecration. He whispered to her, “Does this happen every day?” She said yes, but was not aware of what he really meant by the question. This went on for a number of days.

One morning at Mass she saw him crying like a baby. Leaving the church, he explained to her that he sees Padre Pio on the altar with a knotted crown of thorns on his head, and blood running down his face. His priestly garments are illuminated by a dazzling light. He looks like the “Ecce Homo!” with his face transformed into the face of Jesus. The fiancé said he was crying because he was so moved upon seeing that in spite of all his apparent suffering, Padre Pio remained serene, sweet and peaceful. The young man thought that everyone else in the church saw the same thing.

The girl was amazed and troubled. She did not know if he was being completely truthful, or if he was suffering from an emotionally induced illusion. Thus, after she made her confession to Padre Pio, she asked the saint if her fiancé had really seen what he had told her about. He confirmed that what he had said to her was true.

The young man himself went to see Padre Pio in the sacristy. He told him that at first he saw three crowns of thorns, and then at other times what looked like a bonnet of thorns. The Padre told him, “Thank the Lord, and don't be frightened or afflicted, because I am not suffering as much as it appears,” [“io non soffro quanto tu vedi"]. He asked him to speak to no one about this. “The secrets of God are to be guarded in the heart. The Lord loves you, make the effort to always be faithful to Him.”

The young man in fact did not tell anyone, but it was his fiancée and relatives that spread the word. They added that the young man, when at Mass, could only see the altar and Padre Pio, and not the other people who filled the little church. Cleonice Morcaldi, a long-time spiritual daughter of Padre Pio, was a friend of the man. When Padre Alberto D'Apolito went to visit her, he met him in person, and the fiancé confirmed the truth of everything. In his book of Memories, Padre D'Apolito says that the name of this youth was Bruno G., and he was from Lucera, a small town not far from San Giovanni Rotondo. He writes that a few years later, Padre Pio himself married the couple, and they remained faithful to the Church.

This conversion story was told to a Polish woman staying at San Giovanni, who happened to be a painter. Inspired by the event, she painted a picture of the head of Padre Pio crowned with thorns, with his suffering face covered with blood. It was not just a circular crown, but a rough mass of thorns as if pressed down upon his head. “And that, if we think of it, is exactly how it must have been,” wrote John McCaffery, who had been invited to see the painting. It was hanging on the wall of the home of Cleonice Morcaldi. The picture was covered with a kind of veil out of caution, lest someone think it presumptuous to paint Padre Pio this way, without having heard the background story behind it.

When Cleonice first heard the reports about the vision, she prayed to the Blessed Mother to assist her in finding out the truth from Padre Pio himself. One day, after confessing to him, she asked if was true that the young man saw the crown of thorns on his head. Padre Pio replied “E ne dubiti?” [And you doubt it?”], as he shut the confessional's window. In her own book about her memories of the saint, Miss Morcaldi added that some time later, she asked Padre Pio if he bore the crown of thorns outside of Mass. His reply was, “Yes, both before and afterwards.” She asked which sins were expiated by Jesus by these thorns. His reply, “All of them, particularly sinful thoughts.” Another time he said to Cleonice, “You must know that through Divine condescension I suffer all that Jesus suffered, his entire Passion, as much as possible for a human creature.”

Thanks to the following for this article:  Cleonice Mordaldi's La Mia Vita Vicino A Padre Pio;  John  McCaffery's The Friar of San Giovanni, Tales of Padre Pio;  Padre Alberto D'Apolito's Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Memories, Experiences, Testimonials; and Fr. John A. Schug's A Padre Pio Profile.
View my writings on Padre Pio and others Here


  1. Thank you Frank for these wonderful anecdotes about Saint Pio! He certainly had a profound effect on many people thanks be to the Grace and Mercy of God.
    On a different matter. On the off-chance because you have done much study about Padre Pio I wonder if you would know if the following quote was written by him: “You do not believe in hell… you will when you get there.”
    There has been a report in recent times that Padre's confreres have denied that a writing well-known as 'The Three Days of Darkness' was ever written by him.

    1. Padre Pio did tell someone who did not believe there was a hell that he would believe it when he got there. He was trying to get the person to amend is life. Padre Pio's friary has denied the three days of darkness story. Go to for a good article denying that he spoke or wrote about it.

  2. My friend's brother, upon his death and then placement of his body in his casket, suffered throughout his life. My friend took his picture inside the casket; the two pictures that resulted appeared the face of ST. PIO on the inside of the top cover of the casket. I have copies of the two pictures. Pio is an awesome saint.

  3. I am never surprised to hear stories of St Pio. It must have been a wonderful experience to have met him.

  4. AWESOME!!!

  5. Back in 1995, Ascension Thursday Latin Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo, NY, The Priest was saying Mass, other than the servers serving the Mass, the rest of us servers were sitting behind the Altar facing the Priest. The Priest had a beard, and during the Consecration, It was St. Padre Pio holding the Eucharist up, and the same occurred during the consecration of the wine. I didn't say anything, and ponder what took place. Most of the servers, we were in our twenties, thirties, and forties, we went afterwards to go to a pizza place to eat, and one the men spoke up and started to mention what he had witness during the consecration, whereas I looked at him, and he said to myself, "you saw him too" I nodded yes and while saying yes.
    In 2003 at a Latin Mass at the outdoor shelter at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in Fonda, NY, it was late September, dark out, and in the high 40 degree range. During the Consecration, I knew, and understood with "absolute certainty" not only I was there in the present time, but also back in the 1600's when St. Kateri Tekakwitha herself heard Mass. I still ponder to this day what had taken place.

    1. If you study the Divine Will teachings, all the things of God are present and in act.

    2. Frank, I heard Fr. Connor discussing this very thing on EWTN today (Grab Your Catechism) -- that the Mass is not a re-enactment of the Crucifixion, but the very event itself taking place in the present. Padre Pio's suffering during the Mass, his pained expression, the length of the Mass.. all of this has always been brought out in books about Padre Pio and early articles written by those who had witnessed his Mass many times --

    3. That's basic Catholic teaching, madame, that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the same Sacrifice of Calvary, present before us. This is essential to be aware of while assisting at Mass and just being Catholic generally.

    4. Dear Mr. or Ms. Anonymous; Sorry, I just saw this. I know that, but I was referring to Padre Pio's ability to see it, live it and convey it. People have lost the sense of what it really is, not just a re-enactment or ritual. Distraction is often rampant during the Mass -- I have seen people having conversations while they waited out the moments, and the flat intoning by some celebrants, often rushed, kill the great drama of what is happening. Fr. Connor wanted to stress this! It always needs stressing...

  6. Padre Pio. Please pray for us.