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St Padre Pio : Mother Pelican (25 May 1887 - 23 September 1968)
“O Loving Pelican ! O Jesus Lord ! Unclean am I but cleanse me in Your Blood !”
St Thomas Aquinas
“I will ask the Lord to let me remain at the threshold of Paradise, and I will not enter until the last of my spiritual children has entered...Once I take a soul on, I also take on his entire family as my spiritual children.”
Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
“When your children want explanations about Padre Pio, just tell them that he loves Jesus so much, and Jesus loves him so much, that they have become very much alike. Jesus has given Padre Pio his wounds, so that they can both suffer together to make us all be good. When God sees that Padre Pio is suffering so much, He gives him everything he asks for - he makes people get well and makes bad people become good.”
Holy Mary Pyle (1888 -1968)
“The name Pietrelcina is of ancient, uncertain origin...One of the more colorful stories is that an old foundation stone (pietra) was found in the ancient castle district of the town, and on it were carved a hen (pucina) and a brood of chicks, hence Pretapucina.” From the book The Holy Man on the Mountain (now republished as Padre Pio and America) by Frank Rega.
I see Padre Pio feeding us for 50 years with his very life blood, the way our mothers all did, when we were in the womb. He died while we Jesuit novices were in the midst of our first (Venerable Fr Arrupe gave our novice Master permission for us to do this retreat again in the second year) 30 day retreat in September 1968. In this icon I have him holding a painted disc of the ancient medieval legend, that if her chicks were in danger of starving, the Mother Pelican would pierce open her own side and feed them her blood. This feminine image of Jesus was very popular in art, especially Beato Fra Angelico placed her at the top of some of his Crucifixion paintings. In old churches, she is near the altar or on tabernacle doors. I once said Mass at I think, St Peter’s Church in Brooklyn, and pretty much gasped when I walked into the sanctuary and saw almost the whole floor covered with a beautiful mosaic of the Mother Pelican. When St Francis died at dusk 3 October 1226, St Care and her Poor Clare’s moaned and grieved aloud, “What will we do without our Father ? What will we do without our Mother ?” As I set out to paint (write) this icon, I wondered secretly, if Padre Pio would mind my titling him with that motherly name. A video was taken of Padre Pio’s final celebration of the Eucharist on 22 September 1968. He was very feeble during and after the Mass, and had to be helped, even to walk. As he turned around to attempt to genuflect or bow, I saw the Mother Pelican embroidered on the back of his (vestment) chasuble.
Dear Lord our God,
You renewed the marks of the sufferings of your Son in the body of Our Holy Father Pio, in order to inflame our hearts with the fire of your love. Teach us always to glory in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Henceforth let no one trouble me:
for I bear in my body the marks of Jesus.”
St Paul’s letter to the Galatians 6:17
Fr William Hart McNichols 💮 beginning of Autumn 2020