Angels by the Cleric's Side

Padre Pio, a well-known Catholic cleric, had close relationships with not only his guardian angel but other angels as well.

Excerpted from "Where Angels Walk" by Joan Wester Anderson with permission from Ballantine Books.

Padre Pio, born in 1887 of simple farm people in Pietrelcina, Italy, was a monk who had the stigmata, the marks of Christ's crucifixion, etched in his hands, feet, and side, as did the founder of his order, St. Francis. Despite his own fragile health, he devoted his life to building homes for the sick, the handicapped, and the elderly.

Padre Pio had a particularly interesting relationship with angels. It is said that he "met" his own guardian angel as a youngster and occasionally received counsel from him; later, the two communicated in both prayerful and humorous dialogues.

At times, according to witnesses, Padre Pio was able to read and speak languages he didn't know. When asked how he could do it, he said that his guardian angel translated for him. On occasion, a number of his fellow monks heard voices singing in heavenly harmony but couldn't discover the source of the music. Padre Pio explained that the voices were angels, escorting souls into heaven.


Padre Pio frequently sent his angel to someone who needed help. For example, Father Alessio Parente was assigned to assist the fragile monk from the chapel to his monastic cell every day. But Father Parente had a habit of oversleeping. Often he wouldn't hear his alarm clock or, half awake, he would switch it off. "Every time I overslept," he says, "I heard a voice in my sleep saying, 'Alessio, Alessio, come down!' and a knocking at my door. Realizing I was late, I would jump out of bed and run out into the corridor to see who called me, but there was nobody there. I would race down to the church and there I invariably found Padre Pio at the end of Mass giving the last blessing.

"One day I was sitting by Padre Pio's side, feeling ashamed at my lack of punctuality. I was trying to explain to him that I never seemed to hear the alarm, but he interrupted me. 'Yes, I understand you,' he said. 'But do you think I will continue to send my guardian angel every day to wake you? You'd better go and buy yourself a new clock.'

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Joan Wester Anderson
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