St. Padre Pio, whose feast we celebrate on September 23rd, is one of the most famous and beloved saints of the 20th century.
As a humble Capuchin priest, he was the recipient of some of the most astonishing spiritual gifts: the stigmata, bilocation, healing, prophecy, and the ability to read souls.
He quickly gained the attention of thousands due to the countless miracles attributed to him. Crowds traveled from all over the world to meet him or to have him hear their Confession.
To this day, the stories about his miracles continue to inspire belief in those who were previously skeptical.
Before we read about some of Padre Pio’s most incredible miracles, let’s remind ourselves what the purpose of miracles is in the first place.
Padre Pio’s Miracles Witness to Christ
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines miracles as “a sign or wonder such as a healing, or control of nature, which can only be attributed to God.”
Jesus performed countless miracles—by His own power—throughout His public ministry to demonstrate His divinity and to point us to His Heavenly Kingdom.
While reading through stories of Padre Pio’s miracles, what struck me most was how similar the miracles performed by Padre Pio were compared with those performed by Christ!
Of course, the saints do not perform miracles by their own power, but are channels of God’s power. He works through them and through the conformity of their will to His.
Still, we can see that Padre Pio and his miracles were a humble reflection of Christ Himself.
1. The Healing of a Crippled Man
“Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.”John 5:8
Francesco Santaraello was a crippled man with club feet, dubbed the village idiot of San Giovanni Rotondo. Unable to walk, he would drag himself along the ground on his knees with the assistance of small crutches. He frequently stationed himself outside of St. Padre Pio’s friary to beg for money among the crowds of people who came to see the famous capuchin.
One day, as Padre Pio was walking by, Francesco cried out, “Padre Pio, give me a blessing!” Padre Pio looked at the man and said, “Throw away your crutches!”
Francesco was stunned and did not move. Padre Pio shouted again, “I said, ‘Throw away your crutches!’” and left the man, walking into the church to say Mass.
The crowds watched in amazement as Francesco threw his crutches away and, for the first time in his life, walked on his deformed feet.
Francesco would never use his crutches again.
2. Healing the Blind
And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”Mark 10:52
One of the most beautiful miracles of Padre Pio is the cure of Lello Pegna.
Lello was a Jewish man who had suddenly become blind. He was brought to Padre Pio by a priest in hopes of a cure.
Upon meeting him, Padre Pio was kind to Lello, but told him, “The Lord will not grant you the grace of physical sight unless you first receive sight for your soul. After you are baptized, then the Lord will grant you the gift of sight.”
Months went by before Lello would return to Padre Pio with his sight fully restored.
In spite of strong family opposition, Lello had converted to Christianity and was baptized. His miracle had not been immediate—his faith was tested when his blindness persisted.
Gradually, however, Lello’s sight returned, and the doctor who had once pronounced him blind was astonished to discover that his patient’s eyes were now in perfect condition!
3. Miracles Through an Object
She said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well.”Matthew 9:21
Most of the miracles attributed to Padre Pio occurred when he was physically distant from those who sought his intercession, such as the miracle experienced by Sister Teresa Salvadores:
“Sister Teresa became bed-ridden at 58 years old. She suffered from gastric disorders (suspected to be caused by stomach cancer) and a painful abnormality of her aorta. The nun suffered from extreme pain, weakness, and vertigo, and her condition deteriorated until she was near death. Her fellow sisters were distraught. Many of them had heard stories about Padre Pio’s holiness and miracles. They wrote to Padre Pio, asking for his intercession for a cure.
About one month after the sisters wrote to Padre Pio, a priest arrived at her convent bringing with him a glove that had been used by Padre Pio. The priest asked if he could touch the garment to the tumor in the nun’s side and to her throat.
Shortly afterwards, Sister Teresa fell asleep. Padre Pio appeared to her in a dream, touching the side where her tumor was causing her pain, blew into her mouth, and spoke to her about heaven. When Sister Teresa woke up, all of the physical sufferings caused by her conditions were relieved, though the tumors remained. The nun lived years without suffering from the effects of her abnormalities.
4. Casting Out Demons
Soon afterward [Jesus] went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Mag′dalene, from whom seven demons had gone out.Luke 8:1-2
Padre Pio cast demons out of several people—and had physical altercations with Satan himself.
People often turned to Pio when they suspected that demonic possession had overtaken their loved ones, as in the case of a young wife who had lain in a coma for a year. Her family brought the woman to Padre Pio’s friary one evening during Vespers.
While Padre Pio was blessing the congregation with the Blessed Sacrament, the woman suddenly awoke and began snorting like a bull while her body swelled like a balloon.
Once the service was over, Padre Pio quickly brought the woman and her husband into the sacristy, where he performed a formal rite of exorcism. During the prayers, the woman continued to snort, swell, and claw at Padre Pio. She became calm once Padre Pio had finished the prayers, and her normal appearance returned.Taking her husband’s hand, she quickly became aware of (and appalled by) her disheveled appearance, asked for a comb, and left the friary.
5. Defying the Laws of Nature
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.John 20:19-20
Perhaps Padre Pio’s most surprising spiritual gift was the gift of bilocation. Padre Carmelo of Sessano, who was the superior of Padre Pio’s friary between 1953-1959, tells an amusing account of one of these occasions:
He was with Padre Pio and some other friars attending a show at a concert hall that adjoined the friary. Padre Pio followed along during the show with great interest and enthusiasm.
During the intermission, Padre Carmelo recalls seeing Padre Pio leaned forward and rested his head and arms on the back of the chair in front of him, silent and motionless. The friars assumed that he was tired and did not disturb him while he rested in this position for about five minutes. As the intermission ended, Padre Pio sat back up, and spoke with his fellow friars.
Padre Carmelo thought nothing of the incident until the next day. He was visiting a sick man in town, and the man thanked Father Carmelo for allowing Padre Pio to visit him the previous evening.
Father Carmelo was perplexed. He had been with Padre Pio at the concert hall—and he Pio had gone straight back to the friary once the show ended. Pio hadn’t left to visit anyone that evening.
When Father Carmelo explained this to the man, he and his entire family continued to insist that Padre Pio had physically been in the house. When Padre Carmelo asked the precise time of this visit, the answer was the exact time of the show’s intermission—during which Padre Pio had appeared to be napping!
Padre Pio’s Message: Turn to God
Padre Pio was once asked by a sick woman, whom he had cured, if he was a saint.
“No,” he replied. “I am a creature who serves the Lord through his mercies.”
Padre Pio did not like the attention he received from being a miracle worker. Whenever a person came to him for a cure, he usually gave a quick reply such as, “Let us pray to God.” He always made sure to point people back to the source of the miracles: God.
Padre Pio referred to himself as a poor sinner who prayed, and encouraged others to do likewise. When people thanked him for performing a miracle, he would reply with embarrassment, “Don’t thank me. Thank God.”
The Most Incredible Padre Pio Experience? His Mass.
It’s hard not to look at Padre Pio’s resume of miracles without a sense of wonder.
And yet, what impressed his visitors most deeply was not the cures, bilocations, or ability to read souls in the confessional; rather, it was his celebration of the Holy Mass. Not because Padre Pio was a great showman performing astonishing miracles at the altar. No, those who attended his Mass truly experienced the presence of God in a way that was deep, genuine, and uniquely direct.
One parishioner describes his attendance at Padre Pio’s celebration of the Mass as follows:
“At the beginning of Mass, his face was really pale, just as if he were carrying our suffering, our pain, and our sin. After the consecration his face underwent an amazing change. It seemed to be transfigured with radiant light. From the very first time I went to Mass, I realized that the Spirit of God was there.”
When we reflect on Padre Pio’s fascinating life—with its miracles and profound offering of the Sacred Liturgy—let it be an invitation to deeper faith, prayer, and a stronger relationship with the God who loves us.
St. Padre Pio, pray for us!
How has Padre Pio impacted your life? Are there certain prayers that he has answered for you?
What strikes you most about the miracles God worked through him?
Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!