How much do Filipinos love St. Padre Pio? When the uncorrupted heart of the Capuchin priest was brought to the Philippines in 2018 for public veneration in key churches around the country, scores of devotees, young and old, waited in line for hours to catch a glimpse of the relic.
“It is a great experience, very beautiful,” said a visibly moved Fr. Giovanni Delle Carri, one of the Italian Capuchin friars who flew in with the relic. “We are all emotional. I am emotional for the faith of this [sic] people of the Philippines.”
Known for his stigmata, wounds similar to the ones Jesus Christ suffered from His crucifixion, St. Padre Pio is also famous for the many miracles that have been attributed to his intercession. So, to celebrate his feast on September 23, we recall Filipinos’ inspiring accounts of the saint’s divine intervention!
When veteran news anchor Julius Babao and his wife Tintin Bersola Babao joined a pilgrimage to San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, in 2009, it wasn’t just to view the incorruptible body of Padre Pio, or witness then Pope Benedict XVI bless a mosaic mural donated by the Philippine Center for St. Pio of Pietrelcina.
“It was also our chance to ‘personally’ thank Padre Pio for an answered prayer,” wrote Julius in a letter to showbiz columnist Ricky Lo. “It was through his intercession that Tintin and I prayed for our second baby.” (Read: Karen Davila Says ‘Faith and Love’ Helped Her Son Survive Seizure)
Apparently, this was a difficult pregnancy for the former TV host, an almost irreversible problem with the position of the fetus in her womb, she said in a report. A miracle saw the pregnancy through, and on January 31, 2010, Tintin gave birth to a healthy baby boy via safe caesarian delivery, announced Julius.
As a sports event specialist, Malyn travels abroad frequently. In one such business trip, she received an email from her husband with the worst possible news: He wanted a separation. “The pain that his words caused me cannot be described,” she shared in a testimonial.
Any advice she was receiving only confused her. Two priests in the church she visited suggested she stay and make the marriage work. But a verse from Jesus in the Bible that caught her eye said divorce. All the while, her phone calls and text messages to her husband remained unanswered. (Read: 5 Powerful Prayers for Marriage and Relationships)
So, she prayed for Padre Pio’s intercession. Then one night, she dreamed she was back in the Philippines, where she found an old man in her house. “The hood of his black coat was pulled up on his head,” she related. “In my dream, my husband was there in the house too. He was smiling at me and he embraced me with love… After that dream, I felt I was not alone in facing my problems.”
Talk about a dream come true. Upon flying back to the Philippines, “it turned out to be one of the most beautiful homecomings I ever had,” Malyn said. “The love that my husband expressed to me was something that I had not felt from him for a long time. I believe that it was Padre Pio in my dream, telling me that he was praying for me.”
A Couple’s Cancers, Healed
Julie Torres, mother of TV personality and Leyte Fourth District Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez, has been a devotee of Padre Pio since 1997. “Of all the saints whose intercession I appealed to, St. Pio stood out as the one who consistently manifested his intercession, next to Mama Mary my great intercessor,” she said in a testimony.
In was her husband Manuel “Manoling” Torres Jr., who was the original Padre Pio devotee. Diagnosed with a malignant growth in his right kidney in September 2002, he received a small relic of St. Pio after his surgery. Julie would hold on to that relic four months later, as she was being examined for a suspicious mass in her right breast. (Read: 7 Prayers of Strength for Chemotherapy Patients)
The mass turned out to be cancer in its early stage, which doctors treated without chemotherapy or radiation. Post-surgery, she was gifted by a friend with a medal and rosary from St. Pio’s beatification in Rome. “To this day, I call in him for help,” Julie said. “I have several relics of St. Pio that I always have on hand. I put them over aching parts of my body and always I find relief and comfort.”
Fittingly, the House Committee on Tourism, which vice-chairperson Rep. Lucy presides over, passed House Bill 773 in December 2019, declaring the National Shrine and Parish of Saint Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, a tourist destination. (Read: 5 Most Beautiful Churches in the Philippines)