Padre Pio

“Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. Our Merciful Lord will listen to your prayer.”

“Endeavor to unite the simplicity of children with the prudence of adults.”

“If we only knew how God regards this sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass.”

“Do not worry over things that generate preoccupation, derangement and anxiety. One thing only is necessary: to lift up your spirit and love God.”

“Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; there is neither goodness nor love. And where there is no love, there is no God. Without God, we cannot reach Heaven. These virtues form a ladder; if a step is missing, we fall down.”

~St. Padre Pio

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, felt doll hand made by Meg Krivoniak

Today September 23 is the Feast of Saint Francesco Forgione also called Saint Pius of Pietrelcina. He is fondly referred to as Padre Pio. A modern saint his life impacted many people showing us how holiness is possible in today’s world. He died September 23, 1968. Padre Pio was Canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 16th, 2002.

Padre Pio is a saint known for his special talent at drawing people to confession. He was a Capuchin monk from Rotondo, Italy. For more than 50 years he bore the crucifixion wounds of Christ, the stigmata, on his hands. His ability to read the hearts others allowed him to see if confessors were making a good confession. If a person came to confession and forgot a sin, either intentional or unintentional, Padre Pio would remind the person of the forgotten sin. This ability provided confessors with a complete confession giving countless people the opportunity to be filled with sanctifying grace. How amazing! Sure it would be a little upsetting, especially if you were on the less than truthful end of confessing, but think of the amazing fulfillment you would get in return. Truly a humbling experience. 

I began my catechist vocation in 2007 teaching the second grade sacramental year when our oldest was preparing for her sacraments. I loved teaching the second grade sacramental year so much that I permanently volunteered to be the second grade teacher every year. During those years I learned that teaching younger children requires plenty of visual aids. I had many ideas for the curriculum but when it came to penance I was out of ideas. Teaching the sacrament of penance can be tricky. Confession has a way of being seen as….well……not pleasant. This is a result of parents and other adults expressing their negative thoughts and opinions about this sacrament to children. Because of these negative perceptions I was constantly encountering children who were afraid of confession. I needed something pleasant to emphasize the importance of making a good confession. Something to bring them to Jesus in a positive way. By chance or I like to think through the Holy Spirit I found this Padre Pio doll. In 2013 he became the saint I chose to use as a way to impress upon the students the significance of the sacrament of penance. This doll became an important part of my first penance lesson. I used this doll in all grades when reviewing penance with the students.

How I used this doll in my sacramental classes: I began by introducing the class to St. Pio and his significance to the sacrament of penance. I shared a short biography on his life including some pictures of him and his parish in Italy. The students would begin to prepare for making their first penance by practicing how to go to confession. This is where my little St. Pio doll would be used as the confessor priest. St. Pio sits in his own chair and the student sits across from him and we begin practicing the whole process. The kids love it and they also learn about a wonderful saint. 

PS: The artisan who made this doll is no longer making them. She is taking a break from her small business. While you may not be able to have this exact doll, I suggest looking for other Catholic small businesses for something similar.

Additional Resources

There is a new movie about Padre Pio that was released September 9 of this year. Many have favorable comments about this new film. I plan to watch it soon. The 2000 release Padre Pio Miracle Man is a very good film to see. This was the one that introduced me to Padre Pio and his role as a holy confessor.

Here is a short cartoon Story of Saint Padre Pio to watch.

A Padre Pio coloring sheet.

Catholic Icing has ideas for celebrating the feast of Padre Pio.

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