Padre Pio told a woman it was her fault that her husband had left her…
One of Padre Pio’s great friends was Giuseppe Canapone. Giuseppe had certain privileges that few people enjoyed. He could go to Padre Pio’s cell without seeking anyone’s permission, speak with Padre Pio at all times of the day, and he spent his holiday time in San Giovanni Rotondo.
Giuseppe said, “I spent all my free time at San Giovanni Rotondo…I was only happy when I was with him…I felt that he loved me….” Padre Pio always smiled when he saw Giuseppe. Owing to the fact that Giuseppe was in the company of Padre Pio so often, he was witness to many days-in-the-life of Padre Pio.
One occurrence that Giuseppe retold-from-memory to the author and Padre Pio biographer, Renzo Allegri, has left a deep impression on me. It was a summer afternoon, and a huge mob of people lay in wait outside the church, for Padre Pio’s blessing. Giuesppe opened the church, and the people flocked around Pio.They were all of a mind to get close to him, and kiss his hand.
But there was one woman, who was dressed in a flashy, showy way which was intended to draw attention to herself. In a loud voice, she shouted again and again at Padre Pio, “Priest, pray for me because my husband has left me.” In a hysterical way, she kept bawling hysterically, and flaunting her sorry tale.
Giuseppe reflected that, “she didn’t have the least respect for other people or for the sacred place she was in.”
Her dramatics were designed to attract sympathy and to distract others. But losing patience with her, Padre Pio turned to her, gave her his piercing stare, that he was famous for, and told her in no uncertain terms that, “If you had been a decent person, your husband wouldn’t have left you.”
She was utterly silenced, and scurried from the church instantly. His treatment of her may seem callous – so cruel to a woman who had been abandoned by her husband – which is probably one of the worst fates to befall a wife. It’s interesting that he levels the blame at the woman – this is counter-intuitive because it’s usually the man who is automatically censured like a naughty brat for absconding.
Also, if you stay scrupulously within a rigid mindset, you can become an automaton in assigning guilt to whichever partner, man or wife leaves the home.
The garishly-dressed wife, obviously thought that she would be considered the injured party, and that Padre Pio would take her side – she did not expect his reprimand.
Let’s bear in mind that Padre Pio was able to read the heart, mind and soul of each person who came to see him – and he knew from reading her heart that the woman had not behaved in a ‘decent’ way and that she was at fault for her marriage falling apart.
So, it was not the man who deserted his wife who was at fault. But the woman who, according to Padre Pio, did not live up to standards of decency. The sad part is that had she been more gracious, she would have kept her husband, and not have been caterwauling in front of Padre Pio.
For an account where Padre Pio took a husband to task, you might like the story about Padre Pio preventing a gangster from murdering his wife.
You might like, Writing about Padre Pio, how it influences real life.