World War I was drawing to a close when Our Blessed Lady appeared in Fatima. At that time Padre Pio was undergoing the harsh experience of life in a military barracks. As an unequalled devotee of the Madonna, he meditated deeply on the Fatima message, and in response to Our Lady’s invitation he prayed without ceasing that the divine mercy might prevail over the divine justice.
There is an undeniable link between the apparitions in Fatima and the justice of God and between this justice and the victim state, the state of those souls who offer themselves in reparation for men’s offences against God to placate the divine justice. Hence we can establish a loving relationship between Padre Pio and Our Lady of Fatima.
In fact, it was precisely from Our Lady of Fatima that he obtained a genuine miracle for himself, he who had obtained so many miraculous graces for others. He was suffering from pleurisy from 5 May 1959, and at that time the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was traveling around Italy in the memorable Peregrinatio Mariae.
On 5 August, before it left Italy, the statue was brought to San Giovanni Rotondo by helicopter, which circled over the Capuchin Friary there. Before the image departed Padre Pio addressed a fervent prayer to Our Blessed Lady in the following words: “My dear Mother, since you arrived in Italy I have been reduced to helplessness by this illness, and now that you are leaving, have you nothing to give me?“.
At once he felt a mysterious strength invade his body and he exclaimed to his confrères: “I’m cured!”. Shortly afterwards a local paper in Foggia published an article asking why the Pilgrim Virgin should have been taken to San Giovanni Rotondo and not to the famous Shrine of St. Michael in Montesantangelo, higher up on Monte Gargano and a place of pilgrimage for many centuries. When one of the Capuchins drew Padre Pio’s attention to this complaint he replied quite simply: “Our Lady came here because she wanted to cure Padre Pio“.
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