(1887–1968), Capuchin, popularly known as
Francesco Forgione was born at Pietrelcina in S. Italy, and became a Capuchin friar in 1903 taking the name of Pio da Pietrelcina. He was ordained priest in 1910, and from 1916 spent virtually all his life in the friary at San Giovanni Rotondo (near Foggia), where he is buried. Despite long periods of official suspicion and restrictions on his ministry, he attained a world-wide following due to the holiness of his life, the spiritual direction he gave, particularly during confessions, and for the mystical phenomena and stigmatization (from 1918) attributed to him. He founded a hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo and established a widespread network of ‘Groups of Prayer’. He was canonized in 2002. Feast day, 23 Sept.