Pope Pius XII made life much easier for Padre Pio. During his life Pope Pius XII confided in a journalist that Padre Pio was ‘a great saint’

The early 1930s had been a time of great suffering for St Pio. In June 1931, an order had come from the Vatican that forbade him from saying Mass in public and from hearing confessions.  Owing to the fact that the heart of Padre Pio’s ministry was spending as much as 14 hours in the confessional, it meant that Pio’s ministry was utterly restricted. He was like a child who was grounded for two years. From 1931 to 1933 is known as Pio’s 'first persecution’, or drawing on incarceration metaphors, ‘the imprisonment’. 

That said, May 2nd 1939 was an extremely important day in the life of Padre Pio – this summer day started a stage in his life that lasted over nine years. 

Why was May 2nd 1939 such a critical day?  For the precise reason that a new Pope was elected – Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli became Pope Pius XII – and his papacy lasted until 1959.  Pope Pius XII’s time in the Chair of Peter is the exact same time frame that allowed Padre Pio’s good reputation to flourish. Instead of being distrusted by the Catholic hierarchy, they put enough confidence in him that he was allowed to go about his priestly duties in peace. 

The key is that ‘the new Pope’,  Pope Pius XII thought very highly of Padre Pio. Soon after he became the number one leader in the Church, he had commanded the Roman Cuia, “leave Padre Pio in peace.”

According to Renzo Allegri’s concise biography, Padre Pio: Man of Hope, Pope Pius XII once confided in a member of the press that ‘Padre Pio is a great saint, and it displeases us that we are not able to say so publicly.’ 

It is possible that Pope Pius XII passed on his affection for Padre Pio to his sister. The guest book at San Giovanni Rotondo was signed by Pope Pius XII’s sister, Maria Teresa Gerini. 

IF Pius XII had said that Padre Pio was a saint while he was alive – Padre Pio said that Pius XII was a saint after his death. On October 9th, 1959, Pope Pius XII passed away. Padre Pio was very upset at his passing. 

After Pope Pius XII left this world, a nun, Sr Pascalina Lehnert wrote to San Giovanni Rotondo, wanting to know Padre Pio’s opinion of Pius XII. In response, Padre Pio’s face was transfigured into joy, and he and he answered, ‘he is in Paradise.’ 

When Padre Pio was asked to give more detail he said; ‘yes, I have seen him in Paradise.’    Pio was saying that his own eyes had told him that Pius XII was a saint.  The strict definition of a saint is a soul that has earned eternal reward in heaven.

In response to this entire chain of events, Father Agostino wrote in his Diary on  November 18 th 1958: "Padre Pio was very sad for the death of Pope Pio XII. But Our Lord let him see the Pope in the glory of Paradise." 

If it takes one to know one, then in his lifetime Pius XII confided in a journalist that Pio was a saint. And after the death of Piux XII, Pio said that Pius XII had been admitted to paradise: the picture of the life of a saint.


  1. What a wonderful article. I dare say, it is long overdue that the canonization process be bestowed upon Pope Pius XII. It seems if the required miracles are not visible, then why not "waive the miracle" which the Pope can do. The heroic measures our Dear Pius XII took to protect our Jewish Bretheren speaks for itsself. May his canonization soon be a reality.

    1. Amen!! St. Pius XII please intercede for me.. Thank you.

  2. Padre Pio & Pius XII are both SAINTS.Soon enough the declaration of official Sainthood will be declared for Pius XII. In the meantime both are enjoying Paradise while the process unfolds.

  3. PRAY HOPE AND DON'T WORRY !!! Thank you for those comforting simple words St Padre Pio

  4. I was born during the Papacy of Papa Pacelli and I heard him take his last breath on the radio. I have always believed that he 9is a Saint. Some times the longer the wait, the greater thr role of the personage in history and in the Church.

  5. Padre Pio and Pio XII...Two wonderful Saints. Beautiful and interesting article indeed.


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