“I will make more noise dead than alive,” he prophesied Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968), and there is no doubt that this has been the case. Of course, to make such “noise” he has used numerous human instruments, and one of them is Dove Pia Gasset: organizer of numerous pilgrimages to the convent of the stigmatized Capuchin in San Giovanni Rotondo; promoter of the chapels of Padre Pio; executive producer of the two films of Jose Maria Zavala -her husband- about the saint (The mystery of Padre Pio Y reborn); and, now, a book of interviews unpublished a Direct witnesses of Padre Pio (Custodian Books).
The origin of this work dates back to 2010, when its author accompanied Zavala to Italy to prepare his first book on Padre Pio (Padre Pio. The unknown miracles of the saint of the stigmataalready 45,000 copies sold). Trips that would be repeated on numerous occasions both for that work and for the two subsequent films, in whose preparation she played a very active part.
All of this involved endless meetings and interviews that he recorded and served as a seed both for the printed letter and for said audiovisual productions. Much of this material remained unpublishedand now Paloma Pía Gasset offers it to readers so that they do not miss anything that can encourage the devotion to this saint who has shown himself to be such a powerful intercessor, particularly in the conversions more difficult.
Is about 16 interviewsalmost all of them to people they knew personally to Padre Pio and are spiritual children his. They give us countless resources and anecdotes to get to know him better. What Sister Consolata, a key witness in the canonization process. or the pediatrician Lucia Miglionico, who as a child encouraged to be a mother and a doctor. or the exorcist Gabriele Amorth, who confessed to him for twenty-six years. In addition to other direct witnesses, it also includes conversations with Cardinal raymond burke and with the bishop John Rodolfo Laisewho did not know Padre Pio personally but did see their lives marked by him.
In the second part, Gasset recovers more than two hundred cases briefs of extraordinary works of Padre Pio that were used for canonization: cures, conversions, prophecies, bilocations…
-You were already a devotee of Padre Pio when you did all these interviews, right?
-Indeed, it was spiritual daughter of Padre Pio.
-And was there any of these characters who, speaking with him, thought: ‘Today I have touched Padre Pio, today I have truly understood him, today I have seen him through the people who lived with him’?
-Yes, there are several witnesses that when you are with them it is as if you were seeing Padre Pio. For example, with Angelina Iadanzablood niece of Lucia Iadanzathe woman who saw Padre Pio with the Child Jesus made of flesh and blood in his arms; or also Giulio SiennaCommunications Director of the House Sollievo della Sofferenza [Hospital Alivio del Sufrimiento], the main work of the friar, authentic apple of his eyes. It wouldn’t be fair to leave anyone out. I believe that each one contributes something to the spirituality of Padre Pio.
-A spirituality of suffering, and not only because of the stigmata. For many years Padre Pio was highly questioned…
-Padre Pio suffered great persecution, not from the Church but from some people from the Church: this is important to qualify.
-How did he deal with the fact that some stigmas that he did not want and that made him suffer physically, were also the cause of such spiritual suffering: humiliation, mockery, slander, etc.?
-With obedience and praying. No more.
-One of the characters you interview is doctor Pietro Violi, surgeon, nephrologist and hematologist: what arguments did you use to consider the authentic and inexplicable stigmata?
-Doctor Pietro Violi was internationally famous for his clinical and academic work. The Holy See selected him to direct the investigation of a matter as controversial and delicate as the stigmata. He admitted to being unable to explain how the stigmata bled daily without ever getting infected, at a time when antibiotics did not exist. And as if that were not enough, the fact that the wounds disappeared at the moment of his death without leaving a single scar.
– Why this effort of the Franciscan Agostino Gemelli, so influential in the Vatican, in telling the Holy Office and the Pope that they were false?
-The evil used it to attack Padre Pio, but then he apologized and confessed to him thanks to the immense power of prayer that emanates from trust in God.
-Some scenes from Shia LaBeouf’s film have sparked controversy because you see a very angry Padre Pio…
-Padre Pio was cheerful and had a great sense of humor despite what has been said. Of course, when it came to confession or the Eucharist it was something else, He didn’t like people approaching him out of curiosity.
-Who were the really key people in the life of Padre Pio?
-Syour mother he was a key person. Also Mary Pyle, who although not in the book is a direct witness of Padre Pio. She died many years ago. I would have loved to interview her. Another key person was Elia Stelluto, personal photographer of Padre Pio since in 1947, when he was 12 years old, he took his first photograph. The vast majority of the images that are known today were taken by himself. In the interview he tells me that he helped him as an altar boy at the masses at five in the morning.
-The second part of the book collects countless miracles and intercessions of Padre Pio. You are very involved in that “day to day” through the apostolate of the chapels. Do you still see these palpable fruits?
-The amount of testimonies is impressive, a sum and continues, with the apostolate of the chapels, which has been going on for more than four years. Almost every day there is one. Recently, a person who had been without work for more than two years and had the chapel got a job. And a family that was unable to sell their house when doing so was vital due to their financial situation had the Chapel and sold it. So I can continue… And now also with the padre pio mitten that they have given us in San Giovanni Rotondo.
Paloma Pía Gasset with one of the chapels of Padre Pía that have rotated through homes for years.
-What exactly does the apostolate of the chapels consist of and how to contact it?
-The apostolate of the chapels is completely non-profit, it only takes people who want to have the chapel nine days and pray to him He goes on a pilgrimage from house to house and through nursing homes, hospitals, etc. To request the chapel you can write to the email firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp 630469581 in Spain.
-Have these more than ten years that you have been on the front line been worth it, at the cost of great sacrifices, spreading devotion to Padre Pio in all possible ways?
-Despite the troubles we continue in the battle, because all that apostolate is a work of God. Persecution criticism encourages us to move on (“ahead!”), and confirms the existence of God. Padre Pio used to say: “Slander nauseates me.” But it is well worth it, because in the balance good deeds outweigh bad. God willing, we will continue making Jesus Christ and the Virgin known and loved through our spiritual father, Saint Pio.