Padre Pio: Stigmata Of God - Part 9

INTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA CHURCH CHOIR LOFT, SEPTEMBER 1918 - NIGHTTIME

31 year-old Padre Pio is lying on the floor by the chair where he fell but in a huge pool of brilliant, shining blood. He is shaking and trembling as his blood flows from a deep gash in his left side and his perforated hands and feet.

INTERIOR SCENE - PIETRELCINA CHURCH FRIAR'S CELL, SEPTEMBER 1918 - DAYTIME

31 year-old Padre Pio is unconscious in his hard platform bed, his hands, feet and side heavily bandaged and still bleeding through the gauze. DOCTOR CARDONE is whispering with ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO to not awaken him.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

Doctor, how is he?

DOCTOR CARDONE

He has lost an amazing amount of blood. I've never seen anyone lose that much and survive.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

What of his wounds?

DOCTOR CARDONE

They are very serious and show no signs of coagulation. The gash in his side is several inches wide and his hands and feet have been perforated right through. I was able to put a pencil right through each of his hands without touching flesh.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

(crosses himself)

As were Saint Frances of Assisi's!

DOCTOR CARDONE

I am also perplexed by that strange, flowery odour.

ARCHPRIEST PANNULLO

(crosses himself again)

It is the odour of sanctity, Doctor.

31 year-old Padre Pio awakens. He summons the Doctor and the Archpriest closer as he can barely speak.

DOCTOR CARDONE

How bad is the pain?

31 YEAR-OLD PADRE PIO

I want to be inebriated with pain, but these visible signs are an embarassment and an indescribable humiliation.

(to the Archpriest)

I beg you, Pati, allow this to be our secret.

EXTERIOR SCENE - SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO CHURCH SEQUENCE, MAY 1919 - DAYTIME

A Fellinian scene outside the church. Vast throngs have filled the streets of the tiny village hoping for a glimpse of the stigmatic friar. Some have been camping out for over two weeks to wait their turn to attend Padre Pio's Mass and have him hear their confession. Peasants with their dozen children and sheep in tow, squat side by side with wealthy industrialists and lawyers. Fistfights ensue over the position in the queue. Pickpockets work the crowd, even inside the church. Journalists, weary of waiting days in the sun, end up interviewing each other. A barrage of vignettes:

A man in front of a covered wagon is selling pieces of cloth stained by Padre Pio's blood. The crowd is quickly depleting his supply, so he replenishes his stock by reaching inside the covered wagon, where his accomplice is squeezing blood from chickens onto squares of fabric.

A man climbs a tree to jump into the church from an opened second storey window. He then throws out to his awaiting accomplice below tablecloths, napkins, cups, even the straw from chairs. People await these items waving lire bills.

The back door of the town laundry is crowded with hundreds of people waiting to buy inch-square cuttings of the friar's robes which are brought in for cleaning, but instead sliced up, replaced with new items and sent back to the church.

Hucksters sell “original” signed dispensations of whatever sin is preferred for wads of lire, complete with the obligatory drop of ink-blood, alongside plaster stigmatized hands “cast from the friar”, cheap perfume repackaged with handwritten labels “Odour of Sancity”, and vials of blood with a “certificate of authenticity” from “Padru Piu”.

Children dressed as mini-friars with glued-on beards and tomato sauce-stained hands work the crowd, blessing them for coins.

A wild “possessed” woman is yelling “in tongues” and viciously attacking everyone around her, as well as herself. They rush her to the head of the line where she looks at her husband to indicate “can I stop yet?” and he indicates “not yet...”

A real friar sits at a desk inside the door of the church collecting donations and filling a large barrel behind him with banknotes.

Continued In Part 10

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