The Church of Saint Mary of the Angels in Pietrelcina (Santa Maria degli Angeli) is a beautiful religious structure, done in neoclassical style, joined to a bell tower with a clock. There’s a statue housed inside from the late 600s that represents Madonna della Libera, the patron saint of Pietrelcina. Padre Pio referred to her affectionately as “our little Madonna” (la Madonnella nostra). In the year 2000, the facade was embellished with a bronze doorway made with eight panels, each of which display scenes from Padre Pio’s life.
It was in the church of Saint Mary of the Angels that Padre Pio began his priestly apostleship. On August 14th, 1910, four days after being ordained as a priest, Padre Pio said his first Mass.
In this church, Padre Pio had endless moments of prayer and intimacy with God, and spiritual rapture before the altar, as well as the spiritual phenomenon of the fusion of hearts. In Padre Pio’s own words: “Jesus’ heart is my heart; there were no longer two hearts beating, only one. My heart had disappeared, just as a drop of water becomes lost in the sea”.
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