Padre Pio – His last moments

After all the celebrations to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Padre Pio receiving the stigmata and the International Convention of the Prayer Groups who could have imagined that the very next day they would all be back for a funeral.

Father Pellegrino recollects.     “Padre Pio  by means of the intercom called me to his cell.    He only asked me to look at the clock and tell him the time.    I dried the tears in his reddened eyes and then returned to the room next door to listen to the intercom which was always switched on.   He called me about five or six times up until midnight and always asked what time it was.    At midnight he begged me to stay with him and he kept asking me the time more frequently.    Then as if he had forgotten all about the clock he asked  ‘My son have you said Mass yet ?’    I smiled and replied  ‘Father it is far too early for Mass’  and he answered  ’Well this morning you will say it for me’.

He wanted to make his confession so I heard his confession.    Afterwards he said  ’If the Lord calls me today ask my brothers to forgive me for all the trouble I have caused them.    And ask them all to say a prayer for my soul’.     Finally he said he wanted to renew his religious vows.   It was about one o’clock in the morning when he said   ’I can’t breathe well here in bed.   Let me get up.    I will be able to breathe better sitting up in my chair’.    He usually used to get up at about three o’clock to prepare for Mass and he would take a little walk in the corridor.    That night to my surprise he got up and walked straight up so I did not have to support him.    He said  ’Let’s go to the terrace for a while.   He himself turned on the light, went to his chair and sat down.   After five minutes he asked to return  to his cell.    Back in his room he was starting to grow pale and he was sweating cold.     He kept on repeating in a voice that grew weaker and weaker   ‘Jesus, Mary,   Jesus, Mary’ “.

Padre Pio was slowly fading and he himself often spoke of his desire to die.  “Only the tomb is missing.   I belong more to the other world than to this one.   Pray to Our Lord that I may die”.   One can read in the Chronicles of the monastery  ” He wanted to die while still actively at work, spending the day as usual in prayer and in the exercise of his ministry for the good of souls”.

A friar came knocking on the door of the Father Superior’s cell at about two o’clock in the morning.    “Father Superior get up quickly please.   Padre Pio is very sick”.   The Superior Father Carmelo said  “I hurried to Padre Pio’s room and found Father Pellegrino, Brother Bill and Doctor Sala with the Padre who was sitting up in his chair.   His eyes were closed, his head slightly bowed and he was breathing very heavily.   I called him several times but he didn’t answer.   Father Paolo gave the Sacrament of the Sick to the Padre while the rest of us knelt and responded to the prayers.   In the meantime he was given oxygen and artificial respiration.   He was no longer breathing though he remained calm  and serene.   We recited the prayers for a dying soul.   Then Doctor Sala stopped feeling his pulse, looked up at us and said sadly  ’He’s gone …’.    It was 2.30 a.m.  on  Monday, 23rd September, 1968″.

All those who were present when he serenely passed away kissed his hand and said a prayer for the deceased Padre.    Padre Pio’s prayer to die had been answered.    He had been taken by God to be with God himself.    We thank God for answering Padre Pio’s prayer and we remember his constant request to his companions – ‘Please pray for me’.    So today we pray for Padre Pio and we thank him for all that he has done for us.


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