Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Journey into Creation

Brother Daniele Natale was a Franciscan Capuchin, who passed away in 1994. He was one of Padre Pio's most devoted spiritual children and his close friend. For many years he was assigned to the friary at San Giovanni Rotondo, in the role of porter, questor, cook, and humble provider for the friars. In this way he grew in sanctity, and was the recipient of many spiritual favors from on High. After his death, his reputation for holiness was such that his body was moved to a special locus in the same church where Padre Pio himself had been initially interred, the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. His cause for canonization has begun.

In 1952 Fra Daniele, at the insistence of Padre Pio, underwent an operation for a tumor in his spleen at a hospital in Rome. For a certain period he submitted to radiation and chemotherapy at the clinic. It was during this difficult time in his life that he was granted a remarkable vision of God's creation. Daniele insists he was awake, sitting on his bed, and it was not a dream.

He found himself in an unknown place that he had never seen before – a beautiful countryside near a body of water. He began to walk along, and near a hedgerow he came upon an exceptionally gorgeous rose of a deep red color. It was marvelous to look at, and while admiring it he said, “How beautiful you are!” At the same time he could smell a perfume more heavenly than any fragrance he had ever experienced in his life. Full of amazement, he turned to the rose and said, “You are so beautiful, and with such a sweet aroma! How is it possible that you have not been discovered before?” The rose replied to Daniele, “I am from the Creator and am here in order to praise Him. As for the perfume, it serves to purify the air polluted by man, and to make up for the lack of love that man should show for his Creator.” Hearing this Fra Daniele was troubled, since he thought that it was an accusation against him personally. “These words are for me,” he thought. He felt a little relief when the rose replied, “No! They are not meant for you.”

Resuming his walk in the countryside, he came before a garden bursting with flowers. He could not bring himself to tread upon them by continuing his walk. But the flowers, bending a little, invited him to proceed. Even as he apologized for trampling them, they in return thanked him. Turning towards the flowers, he asked, “Tell me, what is your task?” They answered, “To purify the air of sin and impurity, and to make up for the love which mankind lacks for the Creator.” They were almost the same words of reproof spoken by the rose. And again he heard a voice saying that these words were not for him.

Continuing onward, he came to a little hill, at the bottom of which was a running brook which led to a pretty waterfall. Within himself he was thinking, “Is the water also going to tell me that it praises the Creator?” Then Daniele asked, “Sister water, what is your task before the Most High?” “To praise the Creator,” was the reply. “And in what way do you praise the Creator?” he asked. “With my sounds,” the water replied. Daniele then became aware that he had never heard rushing water sound such beautiful notes! From that little waterfall came forth the enchanting chimes of an organ, to which no man-made organ could compare. It was a truly celestial melody, that penetrated so deeply within the soul of Fra Daniele that he was forced to plead, “Enough! Enough!”

Then he began to walk along, stepping right in the brook itself, and yet he did not get wet. How curious! The brook led to the sea, and he found himself at a cove. The grass was beautiful and shiny, and the blades seemed to be statues pointing straight to the heavens. In their midst was an exquisite lily. It was tall, with a single flower in the form of a chalice – it was so attractive and enchanting to look at. But Daniele seemed to be in a hurry and did not linger there. However, he thought to himself that this lily too is going to tell me that it praises the Creator. So he continued walking, but the lily turned towards him as if to get his attention, and he said to it, “I already know, I know what your purpose is: to praise the Creator!” The flower then made a profound bow as if giving its assent, and he continued walking in the stream until he came to the sea.

He kept onward and walked right into the sea, not on the surface of the water but on the sea floor. It contained many beautiful plants, and a quantity of little fish that he had never seen before, thin and of various colors. They danced before him, and were so pretty, so attractive. Then after going a few hundred feet, he noticed a very large fish coming towards him, confidently smiling at him. But Fra Daniele was afraid, and as it approached him, he told it to stop and tell him what it wants. But the great fish was mortified at having to keep away, and Daniele felt sorry for it. He exhorted the big fish to come closer. When it was only a few yards away, he asked the fish what his purpose was. “My task is to gather the praises of all creatures that live in the sea, and through the mediation of a priest who lives in the world, to offer them to the Creator.” Daniele responded, “Oh I understand, that priest is Padre Pio.” Upon hearing the name of Padre Pio, the large fish bowed profoundly, and remained that way until Fra Daniele asked him to straighten.

While walking on the sea bed, just as in the brook, he did not get wet. He marveled at it, and wondered to himself why. The waters themselves seemed to answer him, “You are here in our midst not merely as a man who has the weight of his body, but also as a spirit.” That was why he did not get wet.

Returning to solid ground, he found himself on the banks of the sea, beyond the sand, where there were many bushes and rocks, and he came to a small hill. Looking around, he saw many little snakes of various pretty colors, similar to those of the little fish he had just seen. They twisted around each other, and as they swayed towards him, they seemed to be dancing in a marvelous way.

Then in the distance, on that little and pleasant hill, he saw a very large and long snake, that aroused fear in him as soon as he saw it. He kept turning away from it in order to avoid confronting it, but that snake somehow kept always in front of him. Finally, Daniele was forced to ask it, “Perhaps you too wish to talk to me? Maybe you also are going to tell me that you snakes praise the Creator? But how can you praise the Creator if the devil has your appearance?” The great snake replied, “No, the devil does not look like us. It is mankind that has ascribed to the devil the appearance of a snake.”

Then Daniele asked, “What is your praise, how do you praise the Creator?” “By our sounds.” Immediately the serpents began to harmonize with each other and Daniele heard a sweet, penetrating melody. Once again, as with the enchanting sound made by the waterfall, he had to shout out, “Enough, enough!”

After ascending the little hill, he walked ahead and entered a forest. The plants there gave the impression that they were moving together with their leaves and vibrating, as if they were expressing joy. Daniele thought to himself, “Will not they also tell me that they are praising the Creator?” Then he heard a voice responding to his unspoken question. “Certainly! Yes, we praise the Creator!” He asked, “How, in what way do you do so?” Their reply: “With our beauty, to purify the air and provide oxygen for people, the people that are so ungrateful towards our Creator.” Daniele's impression upon hearing this was that all creation is reproving mankind!

Proceeding along in the forest he encountered many animals – squirrels, birds, even a herd of elephants who made a great noise as they paraded, and as they passed by it seemed that the trees moved out of their way. Then he saw, resting on top of a rock, a majestic and beautiful lion. Although aware that the lion would not hurt him, Daniele was still afraid, and he ordered the lion not come near him. If it wanted to speak it would have to do so from where it was sitting. To the lion, he asked the same question – what is your task? And it replied in basically the same words at the fish, adding, “We can praise the Creator, but we cannot offer Him love. This is something that only people with immortal souls can do. Ah! If mankind only understood what love is! All of our praises are nothing in the face of an act of love made by a human to our Creator. And we entrust all our praises to a priest living in the world because he is so pleasing to the Most High.” Daniele responded, “I understand, he is Padre Pio.” Then the lion, as did the large fish, bowed profoundly upon hearing the name of Padre Pio. Daniele felt a bit of pride, because he knows and even lives with Padre Pio.

After concluding his conversations with the lion and the other animals of the forest, Fran Daniele kept walking until he came before an ancient tree. It was so large that three men would not be able to reach around its trunk. At the foot of this tree, feeling tired and dazed, he sat down in the hopes of not having to experience anything further. This plant was a type of cedar of Lebanon, whose branches did not overhang, and was almost completely stripped of its bark, remnants of which clung to the trunk. Daniele wondered if this tree too would tell him that it praises the Creator. The reply was immediate, “Certainly! Yes I do praise the Creator! I cannot love Him, but only praise Him. Indeed, and for centuries I have carried out my task. I gather all of the praises of the different plants and the trees throughout the world, and by means of a priest who, except for Jesus, is the most pleasing to God, I offer them to our Creator.” Immediately Daniele said, “The priest is Padre Pio.” He felt good in just pronouncing his name, since he was his personal friend.

All at once he heard rustling noises. Looking around, he saw that the ancient tree and all the other plants were bending in reverence. After having them resume their proper bearing, Daniele exhorted the ancient cedar to speak to him about Padre Pio. It spoke to Daniele for a long time about Jesus as High Priest, and then launched into a panegyric on the priesthood of Padre Pio, the man so pleasing to God, who knew how to make present the person and the message of Jesus in every way. The discourse of the ancient cedar was marvelous, and Daniele had never heard of anyone speak of Padre Pio so beautifully. Since he knew Padre Pio well, he could confirm that what he was hearing about him was truthful. Unfortunately, he can now no longer remember all the particulars, only that it was a magnificent tribute.

It was at this point that Daniele found himself sitting on his bed, wide awake. He thought to himself, “How is this possible. I was awake and yet was there, in all those places. I don't understand what happened, or what to call it. One thing I am sure of – it all really happened.” Afterwards he laid down on the bed trying to make sense out of it in his mind. But the more he thought about that journey, the more mysterious it seemed. “Now I understand Saint Francis, I understand his Canticle of the Creatures: Praised be You, my Lord, through all Your creatures.”

The next morning, when Daniele was traveling by bus and trolley for his radiation therapy, whenever they passed by any trees, he felt he wanted to greet them, and in fact he did greet them. But he was very careful not to be noticed, otherwise people would think he was crazy.

When he returned from his treatments in Rome back to San Giovanni Rotondo, he related the entire occurrence to Padre Pio. After he listened to it all, Padre Pio said, “And so it is, my son.” (“Cosi è, figlio mio.”) In this way he confirmed and sealed as the truth: that all Creation converges on him and he offers everything to the Creator. 

This article is based on Brother Natale's own testament of his vision, found at the website of the Friends of Fra Natale, Here.

See my Catholic books on Padre Pio and others Here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Artist and Padre Pio

Antonio Ciccone is a world-renowned artist who has had hundreds of exhibitions and showings throughout Europe and the United States. One of the world's foremost portraitists, his works are to be found in museums and private collections from California to London. A spiritual child of Padre Pio, he grew up in San Giovanni Rotondo and was encouraged in his vocation by the saint. He is the artist responsible for two magnificent frescoes adorning the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni Rotondo. This is the church that was consecrated in 1959, and was at that time called the “new church” to distinguish it from the adjacent 16th century monastery chapel, where Padre Pio had received the stigmata. These two works are the Resurrection fresco and St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata. The room where they are located was once the Baptistery of the church, but now has been transformed into a place of prayer and devotion, enshrining the remains of Brother Daniele Natale, another spiritual child of Padre Pio.

After Antonio's First Holy Communion, which he received from the stigmatized hands of Padre Pio, he began to sense his spiritual presence. He had great desire to be near him and started to frequent the friary, where he often made his confession to the saintly monk. Antonio says he owes everything to Padre Pio: career, family, children, success . . . and even his life.

One day he was at work high upon the scaffolding in order to paint one of these great frescoes in the church, working about fifty feet above the ground. In order to see from a distance the result of his labors, he started to descend on a ladder from the platform – but he made a misstep. Losing his balance, he found himself beginning to plunge below. Then all at once, an unexpected force pushed him and turned him around suddenly, so that he was able to grasp a rung of the ladder and hold himself firmly in place. Once he felt secure, he looked down below and saw Padre Pio, who was there and had seen everything. Immediately he understood that he was saved through the providential help of the Friar. “It is true, such help is always from God, but Padre Pio was his direct instrument.”

By Antonio Ciccone

At the year of his birth in 1939, His family had a farm not far from the friary. The first of nine children, his tasks included milking the cows and pasturing the sheep and goats. One day, while he was tending the animals, he raided a neighbor's cherry tree, unable to resist the temptation to taste them. The next time he saw Padre Pio in the confessional, before he could say anything, Padre Pio looked him straight in the eye and said, “And the cherries, they tasted good?” Anthony's face became redder than one of those cherries. He lowered his head and with a meek smile promised he would never do it again. Then Padre Pio gently touched his head, blessed him, and assigned him a very long penance. “I remember that I exited the confessional stunned but light-headed, my spirit was in the clouds.”

As he grew older, he decided he did not want to be a farmer or rancher, but instead wished to be a painter. In fact, he had been drawing pictures from the age of 5. He loved to draw pictures of Padre Pio with a charcoal pencil, and admits that sometimes he went to confession just to observe and study up-close the particulars of his face. Sometimes the Padre would shoo him away from the confessional if it seemed Antonio was not there to make a sincere confession. But when he was 12 years old, he went to confession one day carrying a roll of drawings. Kneeling before the priest, Antonio told him that he wanted to study to be a painter, but his father could not afford it. “I am aware that you know so many people, Padre, throughout the world, and if you can help I will accept it willingly!” Then Padre Pio asked him what he was holding in his hands, and Antonio gladly showed him his drawings. One of them was of Padre Pio himself, but he was more interested in a drawing the budding artist had made of the Crucifixion by Guercino. “These are your own drawings?” he asked. After Antonio responded in the affirmative, the Padre said “E Bravo!” Then like a broken record, Antonio kept saying he wanted to be painter, and Padre Pio told him to have patience. “You will see that one day Divine Providence will assist you!”

In the evenings, Antonio along with others including Brother Daniele Natale and Padre Pellegrino, who were very close to Padre Pio, often accompanied him to the friary garden. There they sat down around the saint and listened with great attention as he recounted little stories and anecdotes. At the same time, Antonio would closely observe him to insure that his portraits and sketches would accurately resemble him. Often however, Padre Pio would seem annoyed at such intense scrutiny. “I did not look at him as the others did, but scrutinized him in order to impress his spirit in me. And he, in fact, every once in a while, stopped what he was talking about and looked right at me, saying, 'What are you looking at? Why are you looking at me that way?' I justified myself by admitting I was studying him, and he would respond with an engaging smile.”

By Antonio Ciccone

As time went on his skills and portfolio grew. With the support of Padre Pio, it was not long before Ciccone was able to find sponsors for his artistic endeavors, and he left home for Florence to study with the painter, Pietro Annigoni, famous for his portraits of Queen Elizabeth II. Periodically, about once a year, Antonio returned to his family in San Giovanni Rotondo, and never failed to visit Padre Pio, who was eager to learn of his protégé's progress. “I told him about my experiences, and he would reply in his Benevento accent 'Don't make me lose face!' He reminded me to always thank God.” Young Antonio, who was still rather timid and uneasy, liked to be accompanied on these visits by Padre Pio's friend, Brother Natale. Antonio would ask Padre Pio for a blessing for his friends, family and sponsors. “At these encounters, he would look at me intensely with his dark eyes, and with just a few words took away my anxieties, encouraging me to be confident and pray to the Lord, and to be patient with myself and others.” He told the saint that certain situations were not easy to handle. The Padre responded, “It is for this very reason that you must pray and be patient! My child, if you cannot resolve on your own some problems, you must continue to humbly ask the help of our Heavenly Father, and patiently wait until you receive an answer.”

But Padre Pio was not always easy on him. Sometimes he instilled in him a real fear. “I felt I was before a judge, a man strong in spirit, who with authority rebuked me for my indecisions, my thousands of excuses and delays, and forced me to meet, face to face, the responsibilities of life.”

Antonio became settled in his career, and in addition to studying in Florence and working in parts of Italy, he spent many years in the United States where his works were favorably received. He espoused an American woman, Linda, who bore him a daughter Tiana. With Padre Pio's blessing, the couple also adopted six children of various nationalities and ethnicities. Antonio currently maintains a spacious studio in the historical district of Florence.

When he was commissioned to paint the Resurrection fresco in the Baptistery of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in San Giovanni, he approached Padre Pio to ask him for advice on how he could adequately represent such a magnificent event. But Padre Pio told him, “Do not be afraid, you will see that the right sentiments will unfold within yourself.” Padre Pio passed by the fresco every morning to see its progress as Antonio worked on it. When it was completed, Padre Pio happily expressed his approval, joyful with the spirit of a child. “I realized how much the Padre, before art works or the so many things that happened to him, reacted like an innocent child. He was pleased just to look and appreciate, rather than analyze the techniques of how the painting was made.” 

While Antonio was working on the Resurrection fresco, he witnessed a dramatic event. A possessed woman began shouting and throwing herself down, striking her head on the marble floor, a prey to indescribable sufferings. Many people gathered around attempting to calm her, or at least keep her from hitting her head against the floor. Antonio had never seen anything like this, and was so petrified and shaken that he was unable to take any action. At a certain point, however, one of the bystanders, who had a prayer card with a picture of Padre Pio on it, laid it upon the woman. At the initial contact, she shrieked and cursed, slamming every part of her body on the floor. But shortly thereafter, she completely settled down, and an interior calm pervaded her. It was then that Antonio conceived the idea of painting the event, and a year later executed a work showing the woman cured by the prayer card with the image of Padre Pio: “Padre Pio e la Posseduta.”

On September 23, 1968, while he was in America working on a painting, he read about Padre Pio's death in the newspapers. “For me it was a day of great suffering and solitude. From that moment my thoughts of Padre Pio became more constant. Since I would no longer be able to visit him in person, I had to visit him within myself. At that period of time, I felt a special union with him. What struck me most was his humanity, the force and power of his attraction as a person. His soul was pure, totally rapt in God. I believe that Christ expressed Himself through him freely and openly, in childlike fashion. That is the explanation of the fascination that he exercised on the people that sought him out from all parts of the world.”

This article is based on a chapter from I Miracoli che Hanno Fatto Santo Padre Pio, by Enrico Malatesta, pp. 362-374.

See my Catholic books on Padre Pio and others Here.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

What to do on Sunday

What to do on Sunday if you cannot attend Mass for whatever reason: 

1.  Obtain a Sunday Missal written prior to Vatican II, which has the Latin text alongside the English.  I use My Sunday Missal by Fr. Stedman. 

2.  Before praying the Mass using the Missal, pray this short prayer, to unite your intentions with those of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the sacrifice of her Son at Calvary.  The Mass is a sacrifice, not a social event.  See this link for the prayer. 

3.   Pray the Mass, it is the most powerful prayer you can pray.  Prayerfully read the text of the Missal, with the specific readings and prayers for that Sunday, known as the Proper of the Mass.

4.   Very important, at the time of receiving Communion in the Mass, make your Spiritual Communion.   And if you happen to be a Divine Will devotee, ask Jesus to enter your heart with His Real Life, as taught in the revelations to Luisa Piccarreta.   The Real Life of Jesus in your heart is the same as His life in the Eucharistic Sacrament. 

5.  Additional note:  I make the intention that the priest offering this Mass is St. Padre Pio.  

View my Catholic books Here

Friday, February 1, 2019

Padre Pio and the Angels.

Mr. P. Biavati was on his way to San Giovanni Rotondo to attend Padre Pio's Mass and make his confession to him. He began his journey in the morning, leaving from Florence, quite a distance away from saint's friary. But the traffic was very heavy on the main highway heading south, the “Autostrada del sole,” which incidentally is the oldest European motorway. The congestion on the road caused him serious delays, and instead of reaching San Giovanni by sundown, he had only gone as far as Naples. Tired and agitated from the drive, he thought it would be best to stay overnight there, and then proceed the next morning. Before exiting the Autostrada, he stopped at a rest stop for some coffee, three cups in fact. This made him feel so refreshed and awake that he scrapped his plans to stay in Naples that night, and instead decided to drive the rest of the evening to his destination, a distance of about 135 miles.

It was late at night by the time he left the Autostrada and took the road to San Giovanni Rotondo. The drive would take almost three hours, but amazingly Mr. Biavati remembers nothing at all of the trip! All he can recall is starting the engine, and putting his hands on the steering wheel. The next thing he can remember was his car approaching the square in front of Padre Pio's friary. At that point, someone shook him on the shoulder, and said, “Come on, now, take over!” Fearful and confused, he parked the car, rested awhile, and then made his way to the church for Padre Pio's early morning Mass. After the Mass ended, he was able to approach Padre Pio to tell him how astonished he was to ride all the way from Naples, without remembering that he drove the car at all. But Padre Pio replied with a smile, “You are right. You were sleeping all the way and my guardian angel was driving for you!” 

Kevin Hale, who lives in the Chicago area, visited San Giovanni Rotondo for a week in January of 1965 where he attended the 5:00 am Mass at the friary church. When Padre Pio took off his half-gloves during the Mass, Kevin was able to clearly see, from his vantage point, the marks of the stigmata on the saint's hands. One morning he took a crucifix with him to Mass, which he had purchased at a nearby religious goods store. Afterwards in the sacristy, Padre Pio came to bless each person there. Kevin extended his hand with the crucifix as Padre Pio approached him. Seeing the crucifix, he blessed it, kissed it, and then pressed it to Kevin's lips for him to kiss it also. Then Kevin kissed Padre Pio's hand, and when he did so he immediately smelled a strong, sweet fragrance, similar to cinnamon and roses. The aroma stayed with Kevin for almost an hour.

One night at his hotel before going to sleep, Kevin prayed to his guardian angel. He asked him to go to visit Padre Pio and tell him about all of his spiritual needs. The following evening, he joined the villagers and pilgrims outside in the square by Padre Pio's monastery cell, to bid him goodnight. He came to the window and gave everyone his blessing, speaking something in Italian to the group. Kevin asked a woman standing next to him, who spoke English and Italian, to tell him what Padre Pio had said. She told Kevin that Padre Pio said that he had been kept awake the previous night by an American's guardian angel.

Two young girls, who were neighbors, lived with their families in San Giovanni Rotondo. One night, they stayed over together in one of their houses. They did a lot of talking before going to bed, and the conversation got around to a famous person living right in their own town, Padre Pio. They were at the age when religion was beginning to make an impression on them, and they had heard that Padre Pio has a special relationship with the angels. They were discussing the report that anyone could send their own guardian angel to him to deliver special messages.

They realized that this was not an opportunity to miss. So one of the girls said, “I am going to send my guardian angel to Padre Pio to ask him to cure my uncle Fred.” The other girl declared that she would send her angel to ask for a cure for her cousin. And so it went during the evening, until the two girls fell asleep. The next morning after Mass, the girls went to receive Padre Pio's blessing in the sacristy (this was in the early days, when women were allowed in the sacristy of the friary). But to their surprise, Padre Pio seemed angry at them. He said that their guardian angels had kept him up all night long. First one asked for prayers for her Uncle Fred, then another arrived with a request for prayers for her cousin. “And you kept it up all night long,” he said. “I didn't get any sleep!”

But he was not really angry, he was just trying to point out to them that their angels did really do what they were told. We know this because of what he said to one of his spiritual daughters, Carmela Marocchino, who lived near the friary at the home of Mary Pyle. Carmela wanted to send her angel to him very late one night, but did not do so because she was worried about disturbing Padre Pio's rest. When she told him this, he replied, “You may send your guardian angel any time of day or night, as I am always happy to receive him.” 

A husband and wife were making a weekend trip to their vacation villa by the sea on the coast of Italy. They were leaving from Rome on a Saturday evening, and planing to spend a few days there to ready the place for the summer months. Traveling with them was their fairly large French poodle. About a dozen miles before turning off from the main highway, the Via Aurelia, to reach their destination, their auto broke down. They pushed it to the shoulder of the busy thoroughfare, hoping that someone would stop and give them assistance. But car after car just sped by, and no one bothered to stop and help them.

They had patiently waited by the roadside for about two hours, and it was starting to get dark. Finally the wife told her husband that they should pray to Padre Pio so that he would send an angel to help them out in this predicament. Padre Pio was still alive at the time, and she had previously spoken to him about guardian angels. Her husband was not too enthusiastic about this suggestion, but he told her to go ahead and try.

Not more than ten minutes later a black car approached, slowed down and stopped at the disabled vehicle of the beleaguered couple. Out stepped a very handsome young man, of aristocratic countenance, and well-dressed in blue. He asked them what had happened. After the husband explained their situation, the stranger confidently announced that he would take care of the problem and fix everything. He lifted the hood of the car to inspect the engine, although the husband, who was an experienced driver, had already done this without finding the problem. But the young man said to him that the radiator had lost all its water and was burnt out. He told him to take the empty can and fill it with water. There was a nearby farmhouse with a well from which he could draw the water.

The husband reached into the trunk for an empty can, and automatically headed for the farm house which was on the other side of the busy highway. Although normally it was extremely hazardous to cross the Via Aurelia on foot, he reached the other side with ease. While he was gone, the stranger in blue fetched a black box from his own car. Taking out a roll of adhesive tape, he proceeded to seal up the radiator. The wife, who was silently watching everything, was amazed at seeing his elegant and tapered hands, gracefully performing the task at hand. She also noticed that her dog, the French poodle, was also watching the man quietly and calmly, although he normally would bark at strangers.

After the husband safely re-crossed the Via Aurelia to return with the can of water, the young man filled the radiator and closed the hood. He told the couple that they could continue on safely, especially since they were quite near their destination. But tomorrow they should not fail to take their car to be checked out. They thanked the man profusely, and with a smile he said goodbye to them, and got into his car which was right in front of theirs. Since it was now nightfall, the couple entered their car and quickly turned the headlights on. The wife was eager to read the license plate of the stranger's car before it pulled away. But there was no license plate! Instead, there was a long white strip filled with what appeared to be hieroglyphics. She could see everything clearly since the cars were still going slowly, and there were no standard numbers or letters where the license plate should be, to indicate a place of origin. They proceeded onward until the couple approached their turn-off from the highway. They occupants waved good-bye to each other from their cars. The pair expected to see the stranger just continue along on the Via Aurelia, but suddenly they could no longer see his car – it had disappeared!

They reached their vacation villa in a rather dreamy state, pondering over what had just occurred. The stranger came directly to them, he knew that there was an empty can in their car, and knew they were close to their home, although they never mentioned their destination to him. The failure of their dog, who was always wary of strangers, to bark at him was perplexing. They could not fathom why there was no license plate on his car, just a strip of hieroglyphics. Finally, whenever they drove on that section of the Via Aurelia in the future, they never could find that farmhouse with the well.

The wife later said that Padre Pio confirmed to her that it was an angel who had come to their aid. The saint had heard her prayer to send them a heavenly helper, and Padre Pio does not disappoint! This story is drawn from a report by Padre Alessio Parente (see below), who lived with Padre Pio for years. Padre Alessio affirms that the adventure, although incredible and unusual, is true. 

This article is primarily based on accounts found throughout the book Send Me Your Guardian Angel, by Padre Alessio Parente. The Kevin Hale story is based on an interview in Pray, Hope and Don't Worry by Diane Allen, pp. 275-6.

View my Catholic books on Padre Pio and others Here.