Devotion to the Poor and the Sick
Saint Pio is most identified in his work with the sick and poor by the hospital, Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza.
But not everyone knows that as with Christ, some of that work involved not just illness itself, but spiritual disease. For instance, Father Carty relates a most revealing incident in the life of Padre Pio:
"One day a poor man came with a very sick child; he had consulted a number of doctors and had spent much money in the search of a cure. He brought him to the Padre while he was still feverish, hoping for a miracle.
"When he entered the confessional Padre Pio chased him away with these words: 'What are you doing in front of God's tribunal if you don't believe? Go! Go away! You are a communist!'
"The man went back to his lodgings with the intention of taking his child home, but a professor who happened to be there persuaded him to return to the Father and confess his sins, at the same time renouncing the evil teachings of Moscow. In the afternoon he returned to the monastery Church with the intention of going to Confession. As soon as he saw the Father he threw himself weeping at his feet, unable to utter a word.
"Padre Pio raised him up from the ground and said: 'Now that's the way! A good scrubbing is what you need, but you have to have the will to be clean. You have done the right thing and your son will get well. Now come to Confession.' The poor man wept during his Confession, being very deeply moved. The child was cured physically just as his father was cured spiritually." [Who is Padre Pio?, p. 28.]
In his other work, Padre Pio, the Stigmatist, he tells us that spiritual disease was not a component, but rather strong faith, and that the person was cured:
"Mrs. Devoto of Genoa was seriously ill and in danger of losing her leg. A consultation was held and the doctors decided to amputate the leg. One of her daughters was alone in her room praying that her mother would not have to submit to an operation. She also called upon Padre Pio for help. Suddenly she saw Padre Pio standing in her doorway, looking at her. Her desire to obtain the grace for her mother was so great that she did not stop to wonder how Padre Pio could be in Genoa, instead of San Giovanni Rotondo, hundreds of miles away, nor did she have the slightest doubt that he was actually there in person. Throwing herself on her knees she implored him, 'Oh, Father, save my dear mother.' He looked at her and said, 'Wait for nine days.' She wanted to ask him for an explanation, she raised her eyes but saw only the door of her room, no light, no Padre Pio.
"The next day she informed the doctors that they must wait. The doctors tried to convince her in vain. Even the other members of her family when they saw that the mother was growing worse each day could not dissuade her from her decision to wait nine days as Padre Pio instructed her.
"On the tenth day when the doctors visited their patient they were surprised to find the leg completely healed and their patient well on the road to recovery.
"Mother, father, sons, daughters, in-laws, and grandchildren all came to thank Padre Pio for the grace which had been bestowed upon them, but Padre Pio will never accept thanks and will always say rather gruffly: 'Go into the church and thank our Lord
and the Mother of Divine Graces.' " [pp. 63-64.]
So many cases involve cures of this kind that we decided to place all but these two accounts in their own chapter, Cures.