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July 28, 2016

Book: Book of Saints
Author: Amy Welborn
Loyola Press. Chicago. 2001. Pp. 307

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Who are the saints, why are they important, and what can we learn from their lives and actions? This inspiring collection of saints' stories explains how saints become saints, why we honor them, and how they help us even today. Featuring more than sixty saints from all over the world, Loyola Kids Book of Saints introduces children to these wonderful models and heroes of the church.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Blessed Padre Pio 1887-1968 [Now saint]

The world we live in is rich and deep.

Most of the time we don't see it, though. We're so busy with school, sports, and other activities that we hardly have time to stop and take even a minute to be quiet and wonder.

Think about what worries you today. Are you anxious about getting your homework finished? Are you concerned about the science test at the end of the week? Are you hoping you'll get to play in the game on Saturday morning?

There's always something. There's your dad telling you that the lawn has to be mowed or the leaves have to be raked. There are those worries about your friends. Why did your best friend act snotty to you today? Why has that boy in the fifth grade decided, for some strange reason, to pick on you every day on the bus?

There's just too much to do, too much to think about.

But sometimes you do stop. Maybe you don't exactly choose to --- maybe something happens that makes you stop. Someone you care about dies. On the news you see pictures of other kids your age. Only they live on the other side of the world, and they're think and hungry. You wonder why.

. . . Saints are people who see beneath the busy surface of life. They're people who are such good friends with God that they start to see the world through God's eyes and to love the world with God's heart.

Padre Pio is one of those holy people. He lived during the twentieth century and passed into heaven only about forty years ago.

Padre Pio was born into a fairly poor family in southern Italy. From the time he was fifteen years old, he was able to join the Capuchin order, which is a branch of the Franciscan order, the order started by St. Francis of Assisi.

During his life, Padre Pio didn't travel much. For almost fifty years, he stayed in the same friary, doing the same work. But soon after he became a priest, something interesting started to happen. People began to hear stories about Padre Pio, stories that interested them very much and gave them hope in God's love. These stories hinted that there was something about Padre Pio that could help people see the power of God's love, even in this busy, distracting world.

So people began to come see Padre Pio.

They attended the masses that he celebrated every morning. Padre Pio didn't take his job of saying Mass for granted. He prepared for each Mass with at least two hours of prayer, and Mass itself would often take up to two hours. Padre Pio prayed through each Mass as if it were his first and only time at the altar. He was in deep union with God.

People also came to Padre Pio for confession. Padre Pio heard confessions for several hours each day, morning and afternoon. People who confessed to Padre Pio told of the great peace they felt after the sacrament. They also told many stories of how, to their great amazement, Padre Pio could read their hearts. He could talk to them about sins they'd forgotten to confess.

That wasn't all. Padre Pio's love of God and his people didn't stop at the church door. One of the most important things Padre Pio gave his time to was a hospital for the poor, called The Home for the Relief of Suffering. He chose the name because he wanted the thousands of people being helped there to feel as if they were being taken care of at home, among family who loved them.

But there's even more to know about Padre Pio.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes, best friends become more alike as time goes by? That's what happened to Padre Pio and his best friend, Jesus.

Early in his life, when he was just a young friar, Padre Pio started noticing pain in his hands and feet. It didn't happen all the time, but it happened enough to make him wonder what was going on.

Then, in 1918, Padre Pio began to share something very important with his best friend. He began to share in Jesus' wounds, the ones Jesus had received on the cross. These wounds are called the stigmata. If a person is closely joined to Jesus and his suffering, the wounds of Jesus actually appear on that person's body. St. Francis of Assis bore the stigmata, and a few other saints as well.

You might think of it this way. If someone you love is terribly hurt, you're going to feel that person's pain.

That's what happened to Padre Pio. He saw beneath the world's surface and far above it too. He saw the suffering that sin causes in the world. He saw the pain that sin brought to Jesus on the cross. And because he saw it so clearly with God's heart and God's eyes, he started to feel that pain too.

Table of Contents:

1. Saints are people who love children

2. Saints are people who love their families

3. Saints are people who surprise others

4. Saints are people who create

5. Saints are people who teach us new ways to pray

6. Saints are people who see beyond the everyday

7. Saints are people who travel far from home

8. Saints are people who are strong leaders

9. Saints are people who tell the truth

10. Saints are people who help us understand God

11. Saints are people who change their lives for God

12. Saints are people who are brave

13. Saints are people who help the poor and sick

14. Saints are people who help in ordinary ways

15. Saints are people who come from all over the world