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Conversion at the hands of Padre Pio ..a story from Italy-

ìPadre Pio has triumphed over our hearts, but along with his triumph he has gained for us such happiness that we can do no less than come to his monastery ..to show him the continuous gratitude of our soulsî

In one of my visits to San Giovanni Rotondo, I remember having been surprised when a celebrated engineer from Milan spoke openly about the great happiness he gained through Padre Pio.

After 26 years he had returned to the Church and the Sacraments and he told us how it had happened. His best friend, a spiritual son of Padre Pio, had often invited the man to accompany him to San Giovanni Rotondo, but he had always refused. Whenever the engineerís friend returned from a visit he said ìI have prayed for you and also recommended you to Padre Pioî

ìYouíre wasting your time! Iím too attached to my sinsî was the engineerís constant answer.

One day the friend brought him a little photograph of Padre Pio, which he put in his pocket only to please his friend. A few days later, when he was coming home from an outing, he sensed around himself a strong burning odor which he could not explain. He ran home followed by this burning odor.

ìwhat is itî he asked himself, disturbed. ìYour extremely bad lifeî , an inner voice seemed to tell him.

This thought, this sudden perception of the inner voice of his conscience, was to him as inexplicable as the burning odor that still surrounded him. Suddenly, everything was clear to him: ìI must change my life ! And to his own astonishment he told himself ìI have to go to Padre Pioî

On the following day he left for San Giovanni Rotondo. He registered for confession to Padre Pio but had to wait a few days. This wait for him was full of doubts and temptations and he often asked himself ìBut what am I doing here ? What do I have to do with Padre Pio ? Still he stayed and when his turn came made an excellent confession to Padre Pio with which, as he himself said, he received a new life and a happiness he had never known.

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