Thursday, July 30, 2009


Tom & Susan sent me this so I thought I'd post it today. 

"I knew some of this but the entire story is very interesting.  Hope you enjoy."

When Padre Pio is officially declared a Saint by Pope John Paul II, Conchita Gonzalez will be there. She is one of hundreds of thousands who met him while he was alive, and would never be the same again. However, Conchita Gonzalez did not only meet him; she became one of the dearest persons to Padre Pio's heart. And it all began with an apparition of Our Lady.
On March 3, 1962, a letter arrived in Garabandal addressed to all four visionaries. It was written in Italian, and had an Italian stamp, but wasn't postmarked. Nor was it signed. By the handwriting, and the style of the letter, it was clear it could have only come from Padre Pio. The letter said:
"My Dear Children,
"At nine o'clock this morning the Holy Virgin told me to say to you: 'O Blessed young girls of San Sebastian de Garabandal! I promise you that I will be with you until the end of the centuries, and you will be with Me during the end of the world and later, united with Me in the Glory of Paradise.'
Padre Pio continued:
I am sending you a copy of the Holy Rosary of Fatima, which the Virgin told me to send you. The Rosary was composed by the Virgin and should be propagated for the salvation of sinners and preservation of humanity from the terrible punishments with which the good God is threatening it. I give you only one counsel: PRAY and get others to pray, because the world is at the beginning of perdition.
They do not believe in you or in your conversations with the Lady in White. BUT THEY WILL BELIEVE YOU WHEN IT WILL BE TOO LATE"
The next time the Blessed Virgin appeared to the girls later that day, Conchita showed Her the letter and asked Her who it came from. Our Lady replied that Padre Pio had sent it. With the help of the new schoolteacher in Garabandal, Conchita composed a reply and sent it to the famous stigmatist. She asked him to come soon to visit her in her village. Another letter came to Garabandal from him in which he wrote: "Do you think I can just come and go by the chimney?" (Conchita did not understand what a cloister was and didn't know Padre Pio wasn't free to travel about.)
Conchita, on making her pilgrimage to Rome in February 1967 at the request of Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy Office (now called the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith), had to wait a day to see the Cardinal. So, accompanied by her mother, a spanish priest, Father Luna, a spanish professor, Enrico Medi, and Princess Cecile of Bourbon, decided to see Padre Pio. They were told Padre Pio couldn't be seen until the next morning, after he said the 5 am Mass.
After the Mass the next day, Father Luna and Professor Medi met with the stigmatist in the sacristy. When the priest told Padre Pio that the Princess from Spain was there to see him, Padre Pio replied, "I don't feel very well and won't be able to see her until later in the day." Then Professor Medi said to him, "There is another lady who wants to see you. Conchita wants to see you."
Padre Pio asked, "Conchita of Garabandal?" The professor answered "yes." Padre Pio said, "Come at eight o'clock this morning."
"When we arrived," Conchita would recount later, "we were brought into a small room, a cell, which had one bed, a chair, and a small table. I ask Padre Pio if this were his room or whether he slept here or not, and he replied, 'Oh no, you cannot see my room. This is a rich room.' At the time I did not realize what a holy man Padre Pio was, as I know him to be now. I was very young at the time. I was only 16."
The only ones with Conchita were her mother, Father Luna, and a priest from Padre Pio's monastery who spoke Spanish and was taking alot of pictures. The priest then asked Padre Pio if he could take his picture, and the stigmatist replied, "You have been taking them since you came in."
Conchita had a crucifix kissed by Our Lady with her, and she told Padre Pio what it was, and asked him to bless it. He took the crucifix from her and placed it in his left hand, over the Stigmata. Then he took Conchita's hand and placed it on top of the crucifix in his palm, and then he closed his fingers over her hand. With his right hand he blessed first Conchita's hand, and then the crucifix. He did the same thing for Aniceta Gonzalez, Conchita's mother, who brought her rosary kissed by the Virgin. The photographs taken by the priest are still at the monastery, the friars reluctant to make them public because Garabandal is not recognized by the Church yet. Nevertheless these photos are important documents that verify Conchita's meeting with Padre Pio. Although Padre Pio is going to be canonized this summer by Pope John Paul II, the photographs are still not expected to be made public until after the Church approves the apparitions, or at least not until after the Warning and the Miracle have taken place.
When Conchita found out Padre Pio died in Sept. 1968, she met his close friend, Father Bernardino Cennamo, at Lourdes, and asked him, "How is it that Our Lady told me Padre Pio would see the Miracle and he has died?" Father Cenammo responded, "Padre Pio saw the Miracle before he died. He told me himself."The priest gave Conchita one of the three veils that covered Padre Pio's face during his wake, saying that the stigmatist had requested this before he died. He told her truthfully that he personally did not believe in the authenticity of Garabandal until Padre Pio requested this of him. Conchita also was given Padre Pio's rosary, and one of the gloves he wore, stained by his stigmata. She has these treasures preserved at her home in New York.
Padre Pio never ceased recommending pilgrims who asked him about Garabandal, to make a visit there. He told Joey Lomangino, (the next most significant individual in the story of the apparitions after the visionaries) that yes, the Virgin was appearing there, and yes he should go there. That trip would change Joey's life like he would never have believed.