Padre Pio: Stigmata Of God - Part 6

INTERIOR SCENE - FORGIONE PIETRELCINA HOUSE, OCTOBER 1902 - DAYTIME

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO is in bed with a high fever. He is but a shadow of the rosy-cheeked chubby boy he once was. He is gaunt, emaciated, his skin a sickly beige. His deep brown eyes are sunken into darkened sockets. DOCTOR GUADAGNA is sitting by the bed taking his pulse while a worried Beppa kneels beside him.

DOCTOR GUADAGNA

He will be fine, Signora.

BEPPA

Are you sure? He was up all night, retching.

DOCTOR GUADAGNA

I made the mistake over five years ago of judging him to be terminally ill and having only a few days left to live. He survived that and many other crises over the last years that would have claimed the life of any other boy. But not Francesco.

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO

(weakly)

Mammella, don't worry about me. I will be fine.

DOCTOR GUADAGNA

You'll let me know if he takes another turn for the worse, of course?

BEPPA

Yes, thank you, Doctor. How can I pay you?

DOCTOR GUADAGNA

Oh, this time keep the dozen eggs and feed them to your son. It will help his constitution.

BEPPA

You are a kind and generous man, Doctor.

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO

God bless you, Doctor.

DOCTOR GUADAGNA

Coming from you, Francesco, that really means something. Thank you.

Beppa rises and shows Doctor Guadagna to the door. Beppa returns to the bedside of her son.

BEPPA

Do you think you'll be well enough to go with the Archpriest next week?

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO

(coughing)

I will force myself to get better. I can't miss that opportunity.

BEPPA

Ever since your father has been in Panna-silvania, he has been a Pati, like a father to you.

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO

Tata has been working in America for years to pay for my studies and I will not let him or Pati down. I will be there.

EXTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA HILLSIDE, OCTOBER 1902 - DAYTIME

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO is leading a group of young ACOLYTES including 15 year-old Francesco and EUSTACHIO MISCIO on a walk through the hills around Pietrelcina discussing some basic tenets of the Gospels. 15 year-old Francesco, unable to keep fully up with the group due to his weakened state, suddenly stops and points to a particular unique spot in the fields.

15 YEAR-OLD FRANCESCO

There! Listen! Don't you hear the chorus of angels? Don't you hear the church bells ringing?

DREAM DISSOLVE TO:

EXTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA HILLSIDE, MAY 1935 - DAYTIME

The same spot in the field decades later, which is now the site for a splendid Capuchin church and friary.

DREAM DISSOLVE BACK TO:

EXTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA HILLSIDE, OCTOBER 1902 - DAYTIME

All the Acolytes, including EUSTACHIO MISCIO stop but they don't hear anything. Some of them start to giggle. Archpriest Pannullo hurries them along the path.

EUSTACHIO MISCIO

(quietly)

Archpriest, please remember I would like to speak with you in private upon our return to the church.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

Of course.

INTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA RECTORY, OCTOBER 1902 - DAYTIME

Archpriest Pannullo sits behind an imposing desk while Acolyte Eustachio Miscio sits in a wooden chair across from him.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

(enraged)

Eustachio Miscio, this is a calumny unlike any I have heard in all my years. Do you have any evidence of this?

EUSTACHIO MISCIO

The stationmaster's oldest daughter, Margherita. She will swear to everything I've said.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

Margherita is engaged to your older brother Eugenio! She can hardly present incontrovertible evidence!

EUSTACHIO MISCIO

She will swear upon the Sacred Heart of Jesus that it is so.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

(crosses himself repeatedly)

I do not believe this. I do not believe any of this.

EUSTACHIO MISCIO

The whole town is talking about it, Archpriest. There is no doubt. Not just once but on several occasions. There are other witnesses who say they know that Margherita's sister Rosa has repeatedly slept with “the little saint” Francesco Forgione.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

It is impossible. Francesco is a dedicated, holy boy. He would never commit a sin like that. And he barely has the strength to walk! How could he...

EUSTACHIO MISCIO

But he has, Archpriest. He has...

Continued In Part 7

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