Padre Pio: A Personal Portrait is a biography by Fr. Francesco Napolitano written within five years of Padre Pio's death. At the end of this book, Fr. Napolitano implored the case be opened for the canonization of Padre Pio. In just over 30 years, he was indeed declared a saint. In the foreword, we are told that the purpose of this book is to show us that Padre Pio's lot in life was to suffer, and suffer he did. However, his life of prayer and suffering is one we could all afford to emulate.
Like any good biography, we begin with his birth in a small farming village known as Pietrelcina. The family was poor, but full of faith. The day after his birth, they had him baptized, and they also made sure that he had a Christian education. His mother described him as a "model child," commenting that he never got any trouble and was always obedient. He apparently didn't know how to play like other children, because he didn't know how. He seemed to know early on that he wanted to be a priest, and he also knew of the struggle between God and Satan within him. World War I started and Padre Pio was forced to report for military duty. In Chapter Three, we are introduced to his stigmata. Other chapters focus on his ministry, cures, the aroma he produced, his ability to bilocate, and his sense of humor.
There have been a lot of books written about Padre Pio, and rightfully so. Not only was he a very interesting man, but he was also a very holy man and a saint. However, of all the books about Padre Pio, this one stands head and shoulders above the rest. Why? For starters, it has a lot of first hand stories and accounts. The reason for this is because the author actually knew Padre Pio. Another reason this is a great book is the amount of photographs within it. Even though they are in black and white, we can see detailed photos of his parents, him in is his youth, and the stigmata. If you are looking for a powerful and amazing read on one of the great modern saints, then this is one you will pick up and have a hard time putting down.
This book was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.