Like Saint Joseph Cupertino, Confessor and Franciscan friar, Saint Pio exuded a sweet smelling fragrance, light, delicate, but unmistaken, for which there is no other explanation than that it was a gift of God.
But with Padre Pio, the scent would change with the occasion or the purpose. that is, that one's prayer has been heard, a warning to desist from some action, or for a reason to hope. Sometimes the fragrance was redolent of roses, other times, that of violets, then lilies. On occasion it reminded one of incense. Many people reported having experienced the perfumed atmosphere emanating from the Padre.
As a point of interest, it is known that a special fragrance was detected at the tomb of St. Dominic Guzman, as it did of St. Anthony of Padua.
"Professor Romanelli visited Padre Pio five times, and at first was surprised that the Father should use scent; he realized later the true significance of this spiritual manifestation and his surprise was changed to profound admiration during the fifteen months of his medical observations.
"This perfume is part of his bilocation and in a way a proof that Our Lord dwells in him and he in Our Lord.
"As a general rule, the perfume is first noticed when one is on one's way to Padre Pio or just after having left him; but what is more extraordinary is the fact that it is often noticed in far distant lands, such as Africa, America or Asia. This can not be explained by auto suggestion, as it is impossible so to create odor that will be smelled by a group of people at the same time, but which suggests to each one something . . . different . . .
"Padre Pio's perfume has a real meaning to his spiritual children, it proves to them that he is following them from afar and is warning, guiding and supporting them, that he is giving them specific advice to do some definite thing or not to do it." [Carty, pp. 16-17.]
The scent was even found in the stigmata:
"One favor appeared often about his wounds and the blood that issued from them. Of course, this was a heavenly perfume that was noticed by many. His doctor, Giorgio Festa, M. D., once took a piece of cloth from the side of the holy priest that was saturated with blood. Dr. Festa himself was 'entirely deprived of the sense of smell,' and did not notice the perfume, but on his way to Rome in an open automobile, his companion, a 'distinguished official,' not knowing what the doctor had with him, asked about the perfume. In spite of the air continually rushing through the car, and the fact that the cloth was enclosed in a box, the perfume was still detected. The doctor reports, 'In Rome . . .for a long time after, the same cloth conserved in a cabinet in my study, filled the room with perfume---so much so that many patients who came to consult me spontaneously asked me for an explanation of its origin.'
"What did the perfume resemble? Carmela Marocchino said it was like the scent of roses and violets. Padre Rosario of Aliminusa described it as 'a strong and pleasant odor, whose characteristics I cannot describe.' Padre Gerardo Di Flumeri recalled, 'I don't know how to describe it: very beautiful and very nice, but you can't describe it.' Dr. Giuseppe Gusso was one of five or six people standing at Padre Pio's door one evening when all of them detected a perfume, 'but it wasn't the same perfume for everyone present. I was with Padre Pio every day. There was never any perfume on him, so this was supernatural.' Dr. Eduordo Bianco recorded that the aroma was likened to roses, violets and carnations---and eluded 'all scientific explanation.'
"Countless others had detected the fragrance which they were also unable to describe, except to say that it was somewhat like roses and violets. It is said that after the good Padre's death, a heavenly fragrance accompanied him as he was placed in his tomb." [Cruz, pp. 60-61.]