Saturday, September 23, 2006

St. Pio

The priest with the stigmata.

I painted this icon of Padre Pio several years ago, before he had been beatified. It now resides in the exquisite "Winter Chapel" attached to the Church of St. Louis, King of France in St. Paul, Minnesota. It hangs across from the confessional. It is a chapel filled with fine art and architectural detail, so I am honored that it was chosen for the space.

I painted it one day after a vivid dream the night before, a dream that seemed more like a vision. In the dream, I was in Moscow's Red Square and entered the cathedral of St. Basil. When I looked up, the dome exploded off, and there was Padre, in the sky in this pose, blessing the world, the sky behind him all aflame, red and golden.

I never expected him to be canonized in my lifetime. It seemed only very traditional and pious Catholics continued to pay any attention to him after his death. I more or less hid my devotion lest I be considered one of these people. Priests and monks I knew were suspicious of Padre Pio, his charismata, his seemingly pre-Vatican II spirituality, as well as his chapel veiled followers. I never told anyone when I went to his tomb to venerate his relics, which was a great grace for me. Since my early childhood I had always hoped to visit him, but it was only after his death that I was able.

Then John Paul II declared this man a saint, the man other popes were suspicious of and who preferred silenced and out of the way, which his bishop and superiors did for a time. As a saint, held forth for the entire Church to venerate, he has become a figure open for all Christians to revere, with the example and witness of his life to instruct and guide the faithful in the way of holiness. He was something of a prophet, holding on to the solid traditions of the Roman Catholic faith, the very same sacred traditions being renewed in our day.

Pray for us St. Pio, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

[Prints of the icon may be obtained from Bridge Building Images.]


  1. just me9:31 AM

    I had always admired this icon of St. Padre Pio while in the chapel. I am so delighted to know you were the great artist behind it. It is so beautiful. Just like all the others you've painted. Thank you.

    I hope and pray that I, too, one day be able to visit St. Giovanni Rotondo. Although I have to confess that, even though he is one of my favorites, I am (kind of) scared of him, in a way. I often think that if I would have been in line for confession, I would have been one of those sent to the back of the line!

  2. Terry, the icon is splendid.The Collect for St. Pio has not yet been (officially) translated into English. Such a pity that people should be deprived of what the Church prays! So I translated it. Here it is:

    Almighty and eternal God,
    who, by a singular grace,
    allowed the priest Saint Pio
    to participate in the cross of your Son,
    and by means of his ministry, renewed the wonders of your mercy;
    grant, through his intercession that,
    constantly united to the passion of Christ,
    we may happily arrive at the glory of the resurrection.
    Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    God, forever and ever.

  3. Thanks for the link, Terry-

    Your work is beautiful! Do you mind if I link this link to my blog?

  4. Not at all! Thank you!

  5. EWTN had a new program on Padre Pio on tonight. The video was good and the original sound in Italian sounded great.

    But the woman who did the voice narration of the English version had just about the worst voice ever heard on television. It must be the producer's wife or daughter. But the script was fine.

    One would think that EWTN would have been able to electronically modify the voice to make it more pleasant, but maybe that is not allowed in the transmission contracts.

    But it was a good show.

    It will be on again at 1:00 Mpls time tomorrow morning (3 hrs from now) or noon cdt September 28 if you want to tape it.


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