Religion and Spirituality

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Italian Saint Padre Pio’s Body Put on Display

April 25, 2008 02:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Saint Padre Pio’s preserved remains are on display in the Southern Italian town of San Giovanni Rotondo, commemorating the 40th anniversary of his death.

30-Second Summary

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The Times of Malta reports that a silicone mask was used to reconstruct the bearded Capuchin monk’s face, and his corpse was restored by medical examiners and biochemists in preparation for the thousands of devotees who attended the unveiling.

Padre Pio is tremendously popular in Italy. In fact, The New York Times has compared his following to that of Elvis Presley. “His portrait can be spotted in taxis, dry cleaners, post offices and fashion boutiques, he sells more magazines than the late Princess of Wales,” wrote the Times.

According to Reuters, Padre Pio’s life was shrouded in controversy due to his stigmata, “the bleeding wounds of Jesus’ crucifixion on his hands and feet.” There were also stories that he was once left bleeding and bruised after wrestling with the devil in his monastery cell.

In October 2007, Italian historian Sergio Luzzatto’s book questioned whether Padre Pio’s stigmata were actually “self-inflicted wounds maintained with carbolic acid.” Luzzatto used archived Vatican documents to substantiate his claims.

According to an article in British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, once Padre Pio’s body was exhumed, some accused the Vatican of digging up the saint’s remains to cash in on tourism. Seven million visitors flock to Padre Pio’s sanctuary each year.

Headline Links: Thousands visit saintly remains

Background: St. Padre Pio exhumed

Related Topics: The popularity of St. Padre Pio

Reference: St. Padre Pio on the Web

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