Travelling to Rome in 2016 had not been a journey Padre Pio had expected himself to make. But as he moves through the ancient streets towards the Vatican, large crowds gather, cheer and take photos. And if he were to open his eyes briefly, any doubts they have about the saint’s abilities would surely fade. That’s because Pio would be performing a miracle no one, this time around, could deny. Because right now Pio is actually lying stone dead in a crystal sarcophagus.
In spite of his 1968 death, the priest appears extremely lifelike as he shuttles through the capital in his coffin. Miraculously perhaps, his face, all the way down to his wispy beard, looks identical to how it did in life. Now Pio, who posthumously became a saint, always said he would do more after his death than during his life. So maybe it’s not so strange that he’s drawing greater crowds now than perhaps he was before his passing.
And yet, even after his death, the mystery surrounding this saint has continued. So while the Catholic Church came to eventually accept Pio, it had certainly been a long road. Indeed, the former friar had once run afoul of Vatican leaders for his seemingly unreal manifestations of their God. But now, his “miraculous” life inspires millions of pilgrims to visit his stunningly lifelike remains, more than 50 years on.