Friday, November 23, 2018

Padre Pio Hitches a Ride

Bilocation does not exclude ordinary means of transportation.

In the autumn of 1949 a young man was in the Boston area, working at Harvard University for the purpose of scientific research. He was preparing for a trip by auto to visit Ottawa, Canada. While at Harvard he had become acquainted with an elderly descendant of Italian immigrants who, like many Italian-Americans, was quite attracted to the homeland of his ancestors. That man, whose name was John, was a restorer of paintings, and had done some restorations for pictures belonging to a bishop living in Ottawa. Consequently, John asked the younger man if he would be so kind as to deliver the cleaned and restored paintings to the good bishop. The researcher replied that was no trouble at all for him to do so.

After driving to Ottawa, he went straight to the bishop's residence to bring him the renewed artwork. The bishop received the visitor into his study, and the two men engaged in polite conversation. There was a photo on the prelate's desk, which attracted the attention of the visitor, since it looked like a picture of Padre Pio. The bishop confirmed that it was indeed Padre Pio, and that he had become a disciple and great admirer of him, after meeting him in Italy during the course of the war. The face of Padre Pio was familiar to the Harvard researcher, since his mother was quite devoted to him.

During their conversation, the bishop had told him that unfortunately there were no Capuchin friars or convents at all in Ottawa. Therefore one can imagine this visitor's surprise and troubled amazement, when, upon exiting the court-yard of the bishopric, he came face to face with a Capuchin! The monk bore an uncanny resemblance to Padre Pio himself. The researcher stood amazed as the friar spoke to him with a strong southern Italian accent, and asked for a ride to the home of an acquaintance who was urgently awaiting his arrival. Dumbfounded, he signaled to the friar to get into his car, which was parked nearby. As they rode along, he followed the directions given by the monk (keep to the right . . . turn left here), without saying a word himself.

In a short time they arrived at their destination. Thanking the man with a “Pace e bene” (peace and good), the friar exited the car and all but ran up the four steps to the doorway of a house, into which he was quickly admitted. Still emotionally disoriented, the driver left his car and began to pace back and forth along the sidewalk, mulling over his extraordinary experience. For what seemed like an hour or more he waited for the friar to come back outside; but there was no sign of him.

Finally, he climbed up the steps and knocked on the door of the home. He was greeted by an older woman who seemed upset, but at the same time was smiling. Before he could utter a word, she told him, “The Padre already left a while ago. But my husband is now serenely at rest in the peace of the Lord. Padre Pio accompanied him to Paradise.” The driver said goodbye to the woman, and returned to his automobile disquieted and confused.

About half an hour later he stopped at a motel to spend the night there. On the pillow of the bed he found a small sheet of paper. On it he read, “Thank you again, well done.” One can imagine his bewildered state. He folded the piece of paper into his wallet; but some months later it completely disappeared, and he was unable to find it.

Two years later, in 1951, he returned to Italy and found the time to make a brief visit to San Giovanni Rotondo. He waited as Padre Pio made his way through the throng of the faithful. As soon as the saint saw him, Padre Pio blessed him and asked if he had made a good journey back home from Canada.

Based upon an account in Padre Pio Mistero e Miracolo, by G. Giacometti and P. Sessa, pp. 131-132. The authors never give the actual name of the protagonist.

View my books on Padre Pio and others Here.

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