Famous for his piety and charity, Francesco Forgione—or Padre Pio, as he is fondly called—is one of the most well-loved saints in the whole world. In fact, when he died on September 23, 1968, over a hundred thousand people attended his funeral.
Through the course of his life, Padre Pio performed many miracles and was well-known for his stigmata—the manifestations of the wounds of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. But one lesser-known gift of this saint was that he could actually see and talk to angels.
Because of Padre Pio’s popularity, many people wanted to interact with him. His devotees often wrote him letters asking for his prayers and guidance. But aside from the usual snail mail, Padre Pio encouraged his flock to “send their guardian angels” to him. And for letters written in other languages, such as Greek and French, his own guardian angel acted as his secretary and did the translations! There were even some rare occasions where Padre Pio could be heard conversing in languages he had never studied.
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In 1911, a close friend of Padre Pio witnessed him in ecstatic prayer. He then realized that the saint was conversing with his guardian angel. He often received interior locutions when people send their guardian angels to him. Padre Pio would often seek the help of these guardian angels to deliver messages to people who wrote to him or spoke to him in the confessional booth. And he always encouraged people to remain in close contact with their guardian angels through prayer.
Our Personal Guardians
In a letter he sent to Annita Rodote (whom he counts as one of his spiritual children) in 1915, he said, “May your good guardian angel always watch over you; may he be your guide on the rugged path of life. May he always keep you in the grace of Jesus and sustain you with his hands so that you may not stumble on a stone. May he protect you under his wings from all the snares of the world, the devil and the flesh…. Have great devotion, Annita, to this good angel; how consoling it is to know that near us is a spirit who, from the cradle to the tomb, does not leave us even for an instant, not even when we dare to sin. And this heavenly spirit guides and protects us like a friend, a brother.”