Padre Pio: Stigmata Of God - Part 24

INTERIOR SCENE - FOGGIA GENERAL HOSPITAL CONFERENCE THEATRE, MARCH 1949 - DAYTIME

DOCTOR FEDERICO CANTU is standing in front of projected images of Giovanni Savino. The Conference Theatre is packed with physicians and specialists from all over Italy.

DOCTOR FEDERICO CANTU

Slide One is the last known photograph of Giovanni Savino prior to the accident. We see by the date stamp it was taken for his national identity card three months earlier in November, 1948. Slide Two please.

Slide Two shows on the screen. It is of Giovanni's horrifically burnt face.

DOCTOR FEDERICO CANTU

Slide Two is the first photograph of Giovanni Savino taken when admitted at San Giovanni Rotondo Clinic, at 3 pm on February 15, approximately one hour after the blast. We see extensive third and fourth degree burns over 80% of the face.

(points to an elliptical area on the right side of the forehead)

Note this area has fifth and sixth degree burns as charred skull bone is clearly evident. Slide Three please.

Slide Three shows on the screen. It is of a doctor holding the tip of a pencil into the center of empty socket where Giovanni's right eye should be.

DOCTOR FEDERICO CANTU

Slide Three was taken about a minute after Slide Two. From this angle, both frontal sinus and zygomatic blunt impact fractures are evident, shattering the frontal area of the orbit. The tip of the pencil is 2.2 centimeters into the center of the right orbit, demonstrating the complete void of that orbit. Slide Four please.

Slide Four shows on the screen. It is of Giovanni's newly healed, perfectly normal face. Gasps and frantic whispers are heard through the Conference Theatre.

DOCTOR FEDERICO CANTU

Slide Four is a photograph of Giovanni Savino taken at 9 am February 25, less than 10 days after the accident and eight hours after he requested his bandages be removed. Not only are no eschars visible, but not even the slightest erythema. As you can see both his right and his left eye are completely normal, functional and show no signs of trauma. Two separate optometrists have measured the vision from his right eye at 20/20, surprisingly better in that same eye than his last recorded optometric exam two years earlier. Lights please.

The lights go up and so is virtually every hand in the room. Doctor Federico Cantu calls on DOCTOR SAMUELE MODUGNO.

DOCTOR SAMUELE MODUGNO

Doctor Cantu, you know that we have gone through Medical School together, and you also know that I placed one spot ahead of you on the final exams.

(laughter through the Theatre)

But you, of course, have to realize that whoever has provided this photographic “evidence” was pulling a giant prank on you. This would rewrite every medical textbook on the University bookshelves!

DOCTOR FEDERICO CANTU

Doctor Modugno. That was my first reaction as well. But I have personally interviewed everyone from the Shift Doctor to the Nurses and even the orderlies at both this institution and the San Giovanni Rotondo clinic. The eyewitness accounts precisely match the evidence.

DOCTOR SAMUELE MODUGNO

Then, my dear Doctor Cantu, it seems I should have placed ahead of you by far more than a single spot!

The Conference Theatre explodes in laughter.

EXTERIOR SCENE - HOME TO RELIEVE SUFFERING, NOVEMBER 1963 - NIGHTTIME

PADRE PELLEGRINO is sitting with a very weak and frail 76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO in the lit garden in the front of the enormous, imposing, impressive structure. The old friar is reading a handwritten letter in Latin and muttering while he reads.

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

Oh, Blessed Mary... massive throat tumour... days to live...

PADRE PELLEGRINO

(crossing himself)

Dear Jesus, save her...

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

(putting down the letter)

Karol Wojtyla is a blessed man beloved by Mother Mary and a good friend. I cannot say no to this request.

PADRE PELLEGRINO

Has this lady psychiatrist helped many people in Poland?

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

Yes, Karol says that she is an indefatigable and selfless woman.

(beginning to stand)

Please take me back to my cell. I wish to be alone to pray for this Doctor Wanda Poltawska.

PADRE PELLEGRINO

Don't you want me to join you in also praying for the salvation of the soul of the martyred President Kennedy?

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

It's not necessary. He's already in Paradise.

They begin to walk down the garden path, but as they approach a parking lot, the door of a nearby parked RHD Ford Transit Van with British plates suddenly slides open and flashbulbs strobe. The old friar covers his face with his hand.

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

No pictures! No! Go away! Get away from me!

The flashbulbs continue as a REPORTER with a Berkshire accent stuffs a microphone in the old friar's face.

REPORTER

Padre Pio! What do you say to the charges that the late Pope John XXIII bugged your confessional?

PADRE PELLEGRINO

Didn't you hear Padre Pio? He doesn't give interviews! Go away or I'll call Security!

REPORTER

What about the rumours that you are addicted to Valium and barbiturates?

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

Go away! Help! Help!

REPORTER

Pope John XXIII's Maccari report concluded you have sex with female penitents at least twice a week!

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

I can't even go to the toilet twice a week! How can I have sex? Leave me alone!

PADRE PELLEGRINO

(screaming)

Security! Security! Padre Pio is being assailed! Security!

REPORTER

Sources in the Italian neo-Fascist party confirm that huge sums of money are transferred from San Giovanni Rotondo to their coffers...

PADRE PELLEGRINO

(screaming even louder)

Emergency! Security! Is there no Security here?

REPORTER

What do you have to reply to those who claim that your stigmata are due to prolonged staring at a crucifix?

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

Go stare at a bull and see if you grow horns!

REPORTER

(grasping at the old friar's gloves)

Can you show us your stigmata so we can confirm that they are not self-inflicted with nitric acid?

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

Heeeeeeeelp!

REPORTER

Donations to your church and hospital last year exceeded eleven million U.S. Dollars, where is this money going and...

Finally six SECURITY GUARDS come running. They tackle the REPORTER and PHOTOGRAPHERS and drag them away. The two friars catch their breath and then continue quietly on their way.

A stunning, FELINE YOUNG WOMAN walks past the two friars, disinterested. As she passes 76 year-old Padre Pio she speaks to him in a sonorous multiplexed diabolical voice.

FELINE YOUNG WOMAN

Pio, tonight we come for you too.

The Feline Young Woman keeps walking as if nothing happened. A confused Padre Pellegrino turns around.

PADRE PELLEGRINO

Was that her voice? What did she say?

76 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

(continuing to walk, resigned)

Nothing. Nothing at all.

Continued In Part 25

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