Biography of Padre Pio
Saint Pio was born in Pietrelcina, a small town a few kilometers from Benevento, on 25 May 1887. His father, Grazio Forgione, commonly known as “Razio” or “uncle Razio”, was a small farmer who worked his own land. His Mother, Giuseppa Di Nunzio Forgione was an extremely pious woman. The child was baptized with the Name Francesco in the town’s old parish church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated in the upper part of Pietrelcina (the “Castle” area).
From when Francesco was a little boy, he helped his family with the work in the fields, but above all, he tended sheep. When his father realized that Francesco had a vocation for the religious Capuchin life, he willingly agreed to pay for his studies and duly emigrated to America.
At the age of fifteen, the young man was accepted into the novitiate in Morcone, where on 22 January 1903 he decided to don the habit of the order of Saint Francis and took the name of Brother Pio.
He took his first vows at the end of his year as a novice, on 22 January 1904, and following years of studies for the priesthood in various monasteries throughout the province, he finally joined the order when he took his final vows on 27 January 1907.
Due to ill health, he often had to leave the monastery and spend periods of convalescence in his home town. He was generally considered to suffer from consumption, and indeed it was doubted whether he would ever be able to become a priest or live according to the strict rules of Saint Francis. Yet, he overcame every difficulty thanks to his cast iron will and was ordained a priest in Benevento Cathedral on August 10, 1910.
His health continued to be uncertain, so he stayed but for a few periods in the monastery. His superiors preferred to leave him in his home town where he helped the parish priest in his holy ministries as far as his strength would allow him. However, the call to arms in November 1915 ended Padre Pio’s stay in Pietrelcina. His continuous sick-leaves were followed by brief spells in his home town and stays in various monasteries, including San Giovanni Rotondo, where he was to stay until his death.