This year sees the centenary of a miraculous grace given to the Church of a living icon of the passion when the stigmata, or the wounds of Christ, were imprinted on the body of Padre Pio. However you understand this event, there is little doubt that the humble friar exercised an extraordinary apostolate as a confessor and spiritual guide for about half a century. Fr Michael Cusack CSsR, whose interest and devotion to St Pio are well known, traces the main lines of his story. Padre Pio and Gerard Majella came from the same part of Italy – born about a hundred miles from one another. They were shaped by the popular Catholicism of their home region. Gerard was even drawn to the Capuchins early in life.
The Redemptorists owe his uncle, a Capuchin called Padre Bonaventura a debt of gratitude for discouraging his vocation to the friars left him free some years later to enter the newly founded order of the Redemptorists. Fr Brendan McConvery traces some of the links between the two saints. Another article continues the story of the Confraternity of the Holy Family into the twentieth century, including how it came to found one of the largest Credit Unions in the country. October will see the canonisation of Blessed Oscar Romero. John Scally traces the history of the bishop murdered as he celebrated Mass, a martyr for justice for the poor.