Over thirty years ago, I have forgotten the exact year, I was in a very fine seafood restaurant on the Gloucester, Massachussetts harbor. Behind the host’s reception desk, among many photos of fishing boats, was a boat named “The Padre Pio.” I was amazed to see this and asked the manager whose boat it was and if the owner lived nearby. He told me that the skipper lived in Gloucester, but that the deep-sea vessel was out in the ocean for three months fishing. The manager gave me the address of the owner, so I went to the home hoping to find him. He was not there, having taken off with the marine crew, but his brother was.
I am sorry to say that I have long forgotten the family’s name. The owner’s brother then told me why they named the boat after Padre Pio. The story is similar to the one I have posted below. The owner of the vessel, or future owner, was blind in both eyes, for he had no pupils, or he had damaged pupils, if I remember the story correctly. Be that as it may, whatever the cause of the blindness, his eyes lacked something essential for sight. The blind man’s mother — is it not always the mothers when it comes to Padre Pio? — was devoted to the saintly stigmatist, who would many years later be canonized by Pope John Paul II on July 16, 2002. As I remember, the blind man, who was young, also shared this devotion. When he went to Holy Mass, he would be led by the hand to the altar rail at Communion time. One Sunday, just before rising to approach the altar, he began to see out of one eye. He motioned to his helper, pointing to his eye, that he could walk well enough on his own. And so he did. He walked unassisted to the Communion rail, received Jesus, and returned to his pew. Sight was restored in one eye. I do not remember any other details except that, in gratitude to Padre Pio, the family named their fishing boat in his honor. This miracle is one of many thousands, I am sure, that never made it into the dossier of the tribunal that would determine the legitimacy of Padre Pio’s cause. Next time I am in Gloucester, hopefully soon, I will try to find this restaurant, actually it was the major one on the harbor, and see if the photo is still on the wall. Saint Padre Pio pray for us!
In God’s Company2: Among the many miracles of healing attributed to Padre Pio, some are so unusual and unique that they have been the subject of much discussion and controversy in medical circles. In these particular cases, the person who has been healed lives a completely normal life afterward, even though they continue to have all the physical symptoms of their illness. From a scientific viewpoint, they are still sick. One such person is Gemma di Giorgi.Gemma di Giorgi was born on Christmas day in 1939, in the Sicilian town of Ribera. Almost immediately, her mother realized that her eyes were different from other children’s eyes. The truth was, Gemma was blind.