Old Calendar: St. Linus, pope and martyr; St. Thecla, virgin and martyr ; Other Titles: Padre Pio of Pietrelcina; Francesco Forgione
Padre Pio was born in 1887 in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina. He joined the Capuchin Friars at the age of sixteen and was ordained a priest seven years later. For fifty years at the monastery of San Giovanni Rotundo he was a much sought after spiritual advisor, confessor, and intercessor whose life was devoted to the Eucharist and prayer. Yet despite such notoriety, he would often say, "I only want to be a poor friar who prays."According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Linus, the immediate successor of St. Peter in the government of the Church. He is mentioned after the apostles in the Roman Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer I). It is also the feast of St. Thecla, a virgin of Asia Minor in the early days of the Church. Her cultus, which is very ancient, goes back to the second century. She is considered the first woman martyr.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Born to a southern Italian farm family, the son of Grazio, a shepherd. At age 15 he entered the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars in Morcone, and joined the order at age 19. He suffered several health problems, and at one point his family thought he had tuberculosis. He was ordained at age 22 on 10 August 1910.
- St. Pio is a saint of the last century, so there are many pictures and biographies to read more about his life. Having this gift of the stigmata was very hard on his life — both physically and emotionally. Find out more about the stigmata and his other mystical gifts, such as bilocation. St. Pio also had great devotion to his guardian angel.
- From the Catholic Culture library: Biography of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, The Devil and Padre Pio, Five Maxims for Living a Devout Life and His Wounds Spoke of God's Love for All. There are many other documents in the library which may be found by searching for "pio".
Following the crucifixion of Peter, Linus, who had served as an assistant to the apostle, continued the leadership of the Church, for once the Christian faith had been firmly established in Rome, Peter and Paul had commended Linus to this responsibility. However, because the one-man episcopate had not yet emerged in Rome, we have no way of knowing exactly what duties were expected of Linus. In a letter directed to the Oriental churches, Linus told how Peter's body was taken from the cross by Marcellus, bathed in milk and wine, and embalmed with precious spices.
This child of St. Paul is honored by the Fathers of the Eastern Church as proto-martyr and "near apostle." Already during the second century legends concerning her were current and her grave was much visited by pilgrims. It is historically certain that she lived, but the Acts of her life are largely legendary. According to these she was born at Iconium, where she was converted to Christianity by the preaching of St. Paul. It is related that she was "accused of being a Christian by her own parents after she had refused to marry Thamiris, in order to give herself wholly to Christ. But the pyre enkindled for her burning was extinguished by a sudden downpour of rain as she threw herself into it, making the sign of the Cross. Then she fled to Antioch, where the ferocious beasts and bulls to which she was tied would do her no harm. Nor did she suffer injury during confinement in a snake pit. Because of these marvels many pagans accepted the faith. Thereafter Thecla returned to her native land, where she lived in solitude upon a hill. At the age of ninety she died a peaceful death."
- Since most ancient times St. Thecla has been highly venerated, especially as patron of the dying. Her intercession is still invoked in the litany during the rites for the dying and in the Church's official prayer for a departing soul: "As Thou didst deliver the holy virgin and martyr Thecla from three most gruesome torments, so deliver the soul of this Thy servant; and let him (her) enjoy with Thee the blessings of heaven. Amen." Read the activity Prepare for Death and maybe say the prayers of Recommendation of Departing Soul.