The relic of St. Pio (better known as Padre Pio) of Pietrelcina’s heart will once again be displayed on his liturgical feast next September 23, as stated by the new rector of the Capuchin Shrine of San Giovanni Rotondo, Fr. Aldo Broccato.
The precious relic, after canonical recognition and subsequent conservation treatment, is kept in a reliquary that was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI on June 21, 2019, during his pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo.
The reliquary is currently placed in cell No. 5 of the Convent Santa Maria delle Grazie – the cell in which the beloved saint lived for 30 years, and which remained at his disposal even after his later move to cell No. 1, where he died on September 23, 55 years ago.
But, according to the note published by Avennire, “the main reason for the relic’s presence in cell No. 5 is its direct reference to the mystical wound of love of the transverberation.” According to the saint’s biographers (and to some letters written by Pio himself, addressed to his confessor) between August 5 and 7, 1918, Padre Pio had a vision in which a “heavenly being” carrying a fire-tipped spear pierced his side – very much like the vision of Teresa de Ávila.
His spiritual director explained to him that the supernatural experience was to be considered an act of divine grace, and that the wound in Pio’s body was a visible sign of his union with God.
Last June, the relic of Padre Pio’s transverberated heart was displayed at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Pula, on the annual regional convention of Padre Pio Prayer Groups of Sardinia, Avvenire explains. Then, Archbishop Giuseppe Baturi of Cagliari, who was presiding over the solemn celebration, recalled that “the heart, biblically, is the center of the person, not only of feelings; it is certainly the place and organ of love.”