He had mystical visions starting as a young boy, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Our Lord.
He constantly saw his Guardian Angel, all his life.
His father worked in America to pay for him to go to the seminary with the Franciscans.
His family was very poor, but always had a roof over their heads and three square meals a day.
He had a very pleasant personality, frequently joking with others and smiling, despite the fact he was in constant, unimaginable pain for 50 years.
He did get angry on occasion, only to rebuke lay visitors of his Friary when they were blasphemous or irreverent. Let's just say he pulled no punches.
As a young priest, he had a vision of Christ hanging on the cross in the Friary chapel, in which Christ asked if he would suffer for his people in the towns and villages his Order served. When he said Yes, he was given the full stigmata, which he bore for exactly 50 years to the day.
He was told by Our Lord in a vision that he would be fully healed from the stigmata exactly 50 years to the day he received it, but just before his death.
On the day he died, later that night, he discovered all the wounds and pains were gone.
Padre Pio was the only priest in the history of the Catholic Church who bore all the wounds of the stigmata. Very few people knew that he also had a wound across his shoulder, which he said corresponded to a wound Our Lord also had on across His shoulder during the Passion. Padre Pio said it was the most painful wound, second only to the Crowning with Thorns.
The Crowning with Thorns wound was mystical, with no outward signs on his head, yet he said he felt it digging into his skull for the full 50 years.
Every day, he celebrated Mass in a mystical way, going into a mystical state in which he literally experienced/shared in exactly what Christ experienced/felt during His Passion and Death. His Masses would often take hours.
Early on, he was called a liar by some prelates in the Church, to the point the pope ordered him for a time to celebrate Mass only in private, very early in the morning. But multiple medical exams proved that the wounds were not self-inflicted or having a psycho-somatic origin.
Padre Pio only celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass. When the Novus Ordo changes started to take place to the Missal post-1965, he personally wrote Pope Paul VI and was given permission to opt out of the liturgical experimentation.
Padre Pio was a great mystic and healer. He frequently bilocated to other parts of the country and world, read the souls of people in confession, levitated on occasions, healed the sick, raised the dead, countless times.
For over a decade until his death, he only ate a couple crackers a day.
His routine was to go to bed around 1am. Wake back up after 3am. Pray in his cell, preparing himself for Mass. 4 am go to the sacristy to vest, pray, and hear confessions. 5am Mass, often lasting hours. Then he prayed in the balcony looking down on the church, sat with the Friars during breakfast, heard confessions, sat again for lunch, had recreation daily after lunch walking or sitting in the gardens entertaining visitors and pilgrims, then he spent his afternoon writing his "spiritual children" around the world and hearing more confessions until Vespers and dinner in the refectory. Each evening was filled with prayer, reading the Bible, answering more letters, and on occasion going into town to preach or teach. He kept doing penances until 1 am, before having a couple hours of sleep every night.
Padre Pio was in constant, unimaginable pain, not only from the stigmata, but also from his GI issues, respiratory illness, and later severe, crippling rheumatoid arthritis, not to mention a half dozen or more other chronic illnesses. He was a walking encyclopedia of medical diagnoses.
In his cell, he had a chair for sitting and praying, a table, pics of the pope, Our Lord, Our Lady, holy cards on the wall. When laying in bed, he could see a large painting of Our Lady hanging on the wall, given to him by his mother as an ordination gift. When bedridden, which was often, he often spent hours praying to this holy image.
See this very moving Youtube video of Padre Pio celebrating the Mass of the Ages:
See his last Mass the day he died, knowing while he celebrated it, it would be his last Mass ever offered as a priest before he later died that night.
There are so many more wonders that filled his life. He said he wished he could have said Mass all day long, every day, in a state of suffering. He set up prayer groups all around the world, which he was the spiritual director over. He founded a children's hospital just next to his Friary. And he spent a great deal of his priestly service literally performing miracles to heal the sick. There are countless examples how St. Padre Pio has continued to heal the sick after his death, still today.
In my opinion, St. Padre Pio was one of the greatest saints of all times, and certainly one of the most important saints to be imitated during modern times.
To learn more, to help spread his devotions and healing, support the Padre Pio Foundation based at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT. LINK.
You can request they send you a third-class relic of Padre Pio, and I highly recommend all health care workers to carry this relic on them in the service of healing the sick.
St. Padre Pio, Pray for us!