September 23, 2008
Beacause of the crowds
He was exhausted beyond measure. The whole Italy was coming to see him. He was constantly surrounded by the crowds. He was healing, predicting, solving. People lurked around waiting for him, for his word, his glance, his answer. Stigmata showed on his body in 1918. But it was suspected that he was simulating, that he was pretending and that those wounds were not real. Then the bans were imposed, the more painful that they came from his superiors. Ban on hearing confessions, ban on celebrating Holy Mass, and ban on saying sermons. Priests were forbidden to bring pilgrimages to his monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo. Soon, however, the bans were lifted. Two days before his death in 1968 the stigmata disappeared.
If there were some who envied him, one could tell them: there’s nothing to be envious of, for he’s paid a great price for the popularity with which he was surrounded during his whole priestly life.
Fr. M. M.