Padre Pio: Stigmata Of God - Part 4


Zi 'Razio and 8 year-old Francesco are kneeling in the pews of the crowded, incense smoke-laden church during services for the feast day of San Pellegrino. Suddenly the congregation turns as shrieks are heard from what most think is a madwoman. Dressed virtually in rags, and carrying a limp, paralyzed boy of five with a skull severely deformed and grotesquely swollen to over 30 inches in circumference from hydrocephalia, the woman elbows her way up the aisle to the altar yelling and screaming all the way. The disabled boy opens his mouth every few seconds and issues a strident cackling sound of “Crawwwk!” Still holding the immobile boy, the mother kneels at the feet of the huge statue of the Saint and starts to pray to him crying and yelling at the top of her voice while the stunned congregation watches.


Saint Pellegrino! Saint Pellegrino! Hear my plea! Take my life but cure my boy! Intercede with Jesus and the Madonna. Give his agony to me but allow him to have a normal life! Since birth he has never moved! He has never talked! Saint Pellegrino, Bishop of Amiterno! I pray to you! I beg you! Cure him!

She looks down at the boy in her arms, still paralyzed and cackling.


Saint Pellegrino! Why do you do nothing? Why is my son still like this? Saint Pellegrino! Are you deaf?

The woman starts to shake violently in a rabid frenzy.


Saint Pellegrino! You bastard son of a whore! Why don't you hear me! Burn in hell you Devil Pellegrino!

Zi 'Razio slams his hands over 8 year-old Francesco's ears so that he would not hear the blasphemies and starts to stand to take the boy out of the church. 8 year-old Francesco holds his father's hands and looks at him calmly.


Please sit, Tata. I want to pray for the poor child.

8 year-old Francesco clasps his hands and begins to fervently pray. The hydrocephalic's mother at that moment issues a blood-curdling shriek. She stands in front of the statue, hysterical and still holding the cackling boy.


Pellegrino, spawn of Satan! You don't want to cure him, you filthy bugger? Then you can keep him! He's yours!

The hydrocephalic's mother throws the boy at the statue. The hapless, limp boy smashes into the statue and falls painfully onto the marble steps. Members of the congregation spring up to restrain the woman from further harming the boy. Some churchgoers gather around the limp boy sprawled on the steps. ANGLE on 8 year-old Francesco shaking and sweating in prayer. Suddenly the hydrocephalic boy comes to, with deliberate and fully-normal movements stands to his feet and begins a completely coordinated run towards his mother, crying in a clear, perfect pronounciation.


Mamma! Mamma! Mamma!

The congregation explodes in cheers of “Miracolo! Miracolo!” and stampede towards the altar to get closer to the miraculous occurrence. Zi 'Razio is trying to pull 8 year-old Francesco towards the exit, but the thronging crowd cannot be held back and they are nearly trampled. Finally they are able to escape through a side door and make their way through the chaotic piazza to their donkey. A seething Zi 'Razio snaps the reins as 8 year-old Francesco barely has time to jump into the seat.


Tata, what's wrong?


You! I'm not talking to you.

(crosses himself)

Silence until we get home!

The wagon makes its way out of the piazza through the ecstatic crowds.


Zi 'Razio is on his knees with the rest of his family, praying in front of the larger of the two crucifixes they have on the wall. The younger children are slumped and sleeping on the floor.


Mammella, we've been praying all night. I'm tired. Can I please go to bed?


Stop it. Keep saying your prayer!

Michele does as he is told, but keeps swaying back and forth on his knees about to fall over. Beppa and 8 year-old Francesco are concentrating hard on the prayer led by Zi 'Razio. However, 8 year-old Francesco is only mouthing the parts he does not agree with.


Holy mother of Jesus Christ, hallowed are you above all women on earth and in heaven. I plead with you to make my son Francesco a devout, righteous man, but take away these gifts of the supernatural you have bestowed upon him...

Continued In Part 5

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Comments 2 comments

jennifer 7 years ago

who are countless others who believed that Padre Pio was fraud

I read all the books written on Padre Pio including the one written by C. Bernard Ruffin, a Lutheran minister. I can only think of one person who was a devious character who didn't believe in Padre Pio.

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Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Are you referring to Sergio Luzzatto?

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