Thursday, October 21, 2010

A day with Padre Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo

The pilgrims have gone their separate ways. Some to England, some home and Wendy and I have travelled by train across to San Giovanni Rotondo. Yesterday we fought rain, wind and a twisted ankle to arrive at Hotel Delle Paine. Our shoes, clothes and luggage were sodden. But after a warm greeting, a hot shower and a beautiful dinner we were on track again.

This morning - Thursday - we visited the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Crypt. It also included Padre Pio's cell, chapel where he said Mass and a museum with many of his garments and things he used - gloves, shoes and many other relics. I had known of Padre Pio for many years so was keen to visit this shrine. He was born in 1887, died in 1968 and was canonised 2002. He received the stigmata of Christ in 1918. Among his charisms was bilocation. He was a man whom you knew was a saint. It was just a formality when the Church declared him "Saint". 
Padre Pio's Shoes
We then went to the New Church of Padre Pio. The mosaics in this church are by the same artist that did the ones at the Irish College we visited in Rome, Marko I. Rupnik. This is an example - the Nativity of Christ 
Nativity of Christ by Marko I. Rupnik
What an amazing shrine honoring two holy monks - St Pio of Pietrelcina and St Francis of Assisi. The photo below does not do the shrine justice but it gives you an idea of the magnificence of the artwork.

Venerating the Tomb of Padre Pio
 We were also blessed to be see a Icona, an exhibition of Russian Icons in the New Church.
Madre de Dio, XIX, Russia
We went back to the hotel and joined the custom of the town and had a siesta. What a wonderful tradition - I could get used to it! We then went for a stroll up to Piazza Europa where we found the Church of St Joseph. We joined in the 6pm Mass, which was a gentle parish Mass attended by about 120 people. It was really nice to be in a parish church with the locals. The Icons in this Church were installed in the 1990's. Yet again they were truly beautiful. It is a feast of beauty everywhere you look in Italy.

Mosaic of Matthew at the Church of St Joseph, San Giovanni Rotondo
Derrick, I just wanted to show you a mechanics workshop in Rome:-

Alas they do not have the "Smart Car" in San Giovanni Rotondo as they do in Rome. In Rome they are everywhere and they can be parked in the tiniest little parking spots. I would love to pop one in my suitcase and take it home.


  1. Sue just to let you know Nev arrived home safe and sound with many a tale to tell. I am still enjoying your Blog (with my work mates) we work at the Hervey Bay city Catholic Parish
    Enjoy the rest of your pilgrimmage and I will keep reading and keep track of your journey
    Mary of the Cross
    Bless you

  2. Wonderful Sue, I come from st Patricks parish Singleton, love reading your blog, HAVE a wonderful rest of your pilgrimmage and God bless you for your wonderful detail
    God blessings
    Joanne x