Rome, Italy, 1948. A young Polish priest stepped off the plane, his heart filled with excitement. A momentous week lay ahead for him. Soon he would meet Padre Pio, the humble Capuchin friar who had gained world-wide fame as a mystic and stigmatist. Little did he know that Padre Pio would reveal a secret hidden for thirty years.
Father Karol Wojtyla traveled to the remote Franciscan monastery at San Giovanni Rotondo. In the days that followed, the two priests had several conversations, later revealed in a book Il Papa e Il Frate, published by Padre Pio’s Friary.
“What is the most painful of the wounds you suffer?” Wojtyla asked.
“It is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated.”
Years later, Padre Pio confided to his personal attendant Brother Modestino Fucci, that his greatest affliction was when he removed his woolen undershirt. Blood from the cloth stuck to the lacerations on his shoulder causing severe pain when the shirt was removed. Indeed, Fucci discovered circular bloodstains on the right shoulder.
Padre Pio’s secret shoulder wound echoes back to St Bernard of Clairvaux. Centuries ago, St Bernard had a vision in which Our Lord described his shoulder, injured under the weight of the cross. It tore at his flesh down to the shoulder bone. That wound caused his greatest suffering.
Today, we can ask Saint Padre Pio to be adopted as one of his spiritual children.
“When the Lord entrusts a soul to me, I place it on my shoulder and never let it go.”…Padre Pio.
Here is a prayer to make this request.
Dear Padre Pio, I recall your promise, “Lord, I will stand at the gates of Heaven until I see all my spiritual children have entered.”
Encouraged by your gracious promise, I ask you to accept me as a spiritual child and to intercede for my prayer requests… (Here state your petitions.)
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen.