When I was at my in-laws in Texas over the holidays, we watched a very good movie about the life of Padre Pio called “Padre Pio, Miracle Man”. It’s an Italian-language, English-subtitled movie, but that shouldn’t put you off. There’s something about the story that almost requires you hear the Italian, even if you don’t understand. In many ways, Pio is the quintessential Italian and you hear in how he speaks.
This is also not some saccharine hagiography that glosses over the unpleasantness. Pio’s self-doubts are there as are his horror at how others declare his sanctity and his infamous temper. When he received the stigmata, he is shown as pleading with the Lord to take it away because he didn’t want to have to live up to—or to be more accurate didn’t know if he could live up to—the standards of holiness that would be expected of him.
My favorite scenes: Hearing his father’s deathbed confession and his encounter with a young Karol Wojtyla.
This is a movie that shows Padre Pio as a very human saint. He is not an angel in human guise by any means. He is a true saint, a fully human sinner with a fallen nature and very real flaws who, through the grace of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, was able to live a life of sanctity. It’s no wonder that all of Italy—and beyond—have embraced him. This is definitely a movie I want to add to my collection.
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