Francesco Forgione was born in Pietrelcina on 25th May 1887 to Grazio Forgione and Maria Giuseppa De Nunzio. In 1901, after he met Father Camillo of Sant’Elia, a Capuchin friar of the community of Morcone, he expressed a wish to become a friar. His parents welcomed his vocation enthusiastically. His father emigrated to America, so that little Francesco may receive an education.
On 6th January 1903, Francesco entered the friary of Morcone and, on 22nd January of the following year, he took his vows and became “Fra Pio”.
On the morning of 10th August 1910, Padre Pio was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Benevento and celebrated his first Mass in the Chiesa Madre in Pietrelcina on 14th August.
On 7th September 1910, while he was praying under an elm in the countryside area near Pietrelcina called Piana Romana, he received the Stigmata for the first time, which disappeared one year later.
In 1915, he was called to join the Armed Forces. Medical checks revealed Francesco was suffering from tuberculosis, so he was sent home. In February 1916, he entered the religious community of Saint Anna in Foggia and, on 28th July of the same year, his Father Superior assigned him to the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he would spend the rest of his life.
On 20th September 1918, while he was praying in the choir of the friary of San Giovanni Rotondo, he received the wounds of Christ on his hands, feet and side.
In 1940, the committee for the construction of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza was created. On 5th May 1956, the Casa Sollievo was inaugurated.
On 22nd September 1968, Padre Pio celebrated his last Mass and, in the early hours of the 23rd September, he died.