My mom's Catholic book library makes mine pale in comparison. I believe the Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth, friends of ours, were envious of her collection. I mention this because last night as I was looking for a book to read. I had just finished George and Laura: A Story of an American Marriage and need something different.
Well, I found Magic Mystic: Stories of Padre Pio by the Duchess of St. Albans. What makes this book stand apart by other books on Padre Pio is the fact that the author actually visited Padre Pio's hometown and spoke to many people there. The book is a compilation of personal stories about this popular saint. She intentionally repeats stories so that the reader can get perspectives of the same event from different people.
A couple of stories I found of interests are about the Holy women of Padre Pio who were very possessive of their pew seats especially during the early Mass, and of his beatings by the devils.
"During Padre Pio's lifetime, these ladies gathered for mass before 5:00 every morning on the piazza, where the rest of the faithful had already been waiting for an hour or so in the icy, nocturnal winds of the Gargano. The instant the doors opened they charged forward, scattering the waiting crowd as they surged ahead like a herd of cattle...In their haste to get to the front, they leaped over the benches, traveling full pelt along the top of the pews on their sturdy little legs. They knocked people down and trampled over the, and their poor victims acquired a great many bumps and bruises during the charge. Each member of the holy brigade had her own self-assigned seat; and if, by any chance, some innocent visitor happened to have taken it, he or she was unceremoniously hurled into the aisle by the scruff of the neck. Meanwhile, Padre Pio patiently waited in his saintly way for the cyclone to abate, in order to start celebrating mass."My mom tells me that in another book she read, some of these women would even bite the ones who were in "their" pew.
Regarding the attacks,
"We had to call the doctor in at ten o'clock that night to put stitches int he wound, which was so deep he couldn't open his eyes. Padre Pio couldn't celebrate mass the next day. A woman who came to see him three years later said to him, 'Last time I was here, padre, the devil had beaten you up.'
'Devil!' he cried. 'They were devils. And they tried to scratch my eyes out.'"