From: Thomas Lange
During World War II Allied forces made many attempts to bomb a small town in southern Italy called Pomigliceno which only fame was a monastery called San Giovanni Rotondo. Norman Lewis, an intelligence officer with the 5th Army wrote in his diary notes that a “flying” monk who bore the stigmata saved an Allied Italian pilot who parachuted from his hit plane. He was saved by this flying monk who caught the pilot in mid-air when his parachute didn’t open.
Later in the war the Allied forces dropped leaflets letting the people know they were going to bomb Pomigliceno because of the possibility that German forces had munitions stored in a huge bunker there! The people of the area asked Padre Pio from San Giovanni monastery what they should do. Padre Pio told the people to stay right where they were at, and that the Allied forces would not be bombing the area. None of the Allied planes sent to bomb the San Giovanni Rotondo area were able to complete their missions successfully. There were often mysterious malfunctions causing the bombs to drop harmlessly in the fields, or mechanical failures which caused the planes to veer off course. But the real story is told by the pilots who did make it near to the city. They reported that they were beckoned to turn back by an apparition in the skies, a vision of a “flying monk” who waved them away.
After the war many American and British soldiers came back to San Giovanni monastery and paid their respects to the famous friar, Padre Pio.
The story of the life of St. Padre Pio is free for the asking. Call 715-659-2322.