Bilocation (sometimes hyphenated as bi-location) is a special gift of God where an individual can be in two places at once. God always uses this gift for acts of mercy or charity to be performed by the Saint, in circumstances where it is physically impossible for the Saint to be present under normal circumstances.
While the gift of bi-location has been given to countless saints. Probably one of the most frequent and documented accounts occurred relatively recently in the extraordinary life of the beloved St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968).
In the April 2008 issue of “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry” newsletter published by Padre Pio Devotions we read of an account of the extraordinary appearance of St Pio in America.
Ellie Hunt’s family came from Padre Pio’s hometown of Pietrelcina and had known Padre Pio from his childhood. They eventually emigrated from Italy to New York. In 1960, when Ellie was 31 years old her grandfather, Jack Crafa became gravely ill. Ellie and her parents lived close to his home in Flushing, New York and during his grave illness, the family stayed by his side. When Jack eventually fell into a coma, they all knew that his life was soon passing.
One day while Ellie and her parents were at her grandfather’s bedside, a stranger knocked at the door. They were all surprised to see a Capuchin monk dressed in a dark brown habit, because there were no Capuchin monks in their Parish or in any other parish in the area for that matter. They were also surprised to see that he was wearing sandals without any socks, because it was a particularly cold day and snow covered the ground. The monk said that he had come to pray for her grandfather. Ellie was also a bit upset, because she thought that the parish priest should have come to pray for her grandfather, and not a complete stranger. However, she was soon impressed by the kindness and compassion of the young monk.
He then went straight into her grandfathers bedroom and blessed Jack Crafa. Then told the family to pray the Rosary suggesting that they sit at Jack’s side, praying the Hail Mary close to his ear, for he seemed to have the opinion that Jack was still able to hear. After the monk said that, Ellie was surprised to find that when she took her grandfather’s hand in hers, she felt a response from a very slight squeeze from his hand.
The young Capuchin then gave Ellie’s grandfather the Last Sacraments, then he blessed the family and bid them goodbye. As he walked out the front door, Ellie’s father, James noticed that there was no car waiting for him outside. James watched him as he walked up the street until he disappeared in the darkness. Jack Crafa died that very night. He had been in a coma for nine days.
After the unknown monk had left, Ellie’s father James became pale and appeared quite shaken. Ellie’s mother Lucy, asked him for the reason.”Don’t you know who that was?” James replied, “It was Padre Pio. He came to give the Last Rites to your father and he looked exactly like I remember him when I used to deliver eggs to him in Pietrelcina.”
For Ellie’s grandfather Jack had been one of Padre Pio’s spiritual sons from Pietrelcina and through a special grace God Padre Pio had come to comfort and encourage him, and to administer the last Sacraments of the Church, for his death was only hours away.
[Source "Pray, Hope and Don't Worry" newsletter, April 2008, published by Padre Pio Devotions]
More examples of bilocation in the life of St Padre Pio
[The primary source for this section is "Padre Pio- The Stigmatist" by Rev Charles Mortimer Carty, Radio Replies Press, 2nd ed.]Signora Concetta Bellarmini of S. Vito Lanciano declares that she was suddenly stricken with a blood infection followed by bronchial pneumonia with a very high fever. She was reduced to such a state that the doctors despaired of ever saving her. The flesh had become yellow from the infection which had spread throughout her body.
A relative urged her to direct her prayers to Padre Pio. She prayed to him whom she has never seen, when suddenly in full daylight a stigmatized monk appeared to her and smiling blessed her without touching her as he stood in the middle of the room. The woman asked him if his appearance signified the grace for the conversion of her children, or else the grace for her physical cure. Then Padre answered, "Sunday morning you will be cured," then he vanished from the room, leaving an odor of perfume which the servant girl also smelt. After this visit her flesh turned normal color, the fever ceased and in a few days her health was completely restored. She went with her brother to San Giovanni Rotondo to see if Padre Pio was the one who appeared to her. When she arrived at the Monastery and saw Padre Pio in the church she turned to her brother and said, "There he is, he is the one."
Signor Bugarini Arturo of Ancona was urged by friends to turn to Padre Pio for the cure of his boy. Whilst he was standing near the bedside of his critically ill son he felt three consecutive taps on his shoulder, whilst a voice said: "I am Padre Pio, I am Padre Pio, I am Padre Pio." At the same time he felt all over his body a wave of heat as if he were next to an intense flame, then all of a sudden it ceased. This visit of Padre Pio restored the health of the son. Father and son visited the monastery to thank Padre Pio for the miraculous cure and the spiritual conversion of the father and all the Bugarini family.
On July 20, 1921, a Monsignor D'Indico of Florence, whom this author met in 1923 when studying theology at the Archbishop's Seminary at Florence, was alone in his study. He felt the sensation of having someone at his back. He turned and saw a monk who disappeared. He left his quarters to tell a chaplain what happened. The chaplain thought it was mere hallucination due to his actual state of anxiety over his sister, who was very ill. He invited him to take a short walk for mental distraction.
When they returned they called at the sick room. His sister who a little before was in the state of coma, at the same hour as when her brother felt the sensation of being in the presence of Padre Pio, narrated that she had seen a monk enter her room who approached her and said:
"Don't be afraid, tomorrow your fever will disappear and after a few days there will be no trace of your illness on your body."
"Kiss the sign of the passion," and he showed his hands transfixed and bleeding.
"Padre, I recommend to you my husband and child."
"Pray, pray that you will be good and be assured that your child will be under my protection," and blessing her he vanished.
She immediately got better and in eight days was entirely cured.
His opinion on the recognition of bilocation
One day a monk who was speaking about the bilocation of St. Anthony of Padua who miraculously appeared in Lisbon, said to Padre Pio: "Perhaps these privileged of the Lord do not even know when their bilocation occurs:'Padre Pio quickly interrupting him as one who is experienced with such events answered: "Certainly they know. They cannot know if the body or the soul moves, but they are very conscious of what happens and they know where they are going."
St Pio miraculously appears to a General
While World War II was raging throughout Europe, one day General Cadorna, a General in the Italian Army, was in his study during the war and in deep study he held his head in his hands, thinking of all the young men who, for the love of country would have to give up their lives, when suddenly he smelt a very strong perfume odor of roses which was wafted around the room. Raising his venerable head, he was stupefied to see a monk with a seraphic look and with bleeding hands. Passing in front of him, the monk said, "Be calm, they will not do anything harmful to you."
With the disappearance of the monk, the general no longer smelled the perfume. He told a Franciscan friend about the vision and when he mentioned the perfume the Franciscan said, "Your excellency, you have seen Padre Pio." Then he told the general all about Padre Pio. The general decided to visit San Giovanni and when he arrived there incognito, he was immediately approached by two Capuchins, who had recognized the general even though he was trying to disguise himself in civilian clothing. They approached him and said, "Your Excellency, Padre Pio is waiting for you. He sent us to meet you."
St Pio appears leaves the imprint of his stigmatized hand on a bed sheet
Emma Meneghello, a very pious young girl of 14, was afflicted with epilepsy which threw her into fits several times a week. One afternoon whilst in prayer, Padre Pio appeared to her and placed his hand on the bed sheet, then smiled and vanished. The cured epileptic arose to kiss the place where the Padre had placed his hand and she noticed a cross of blood left on the sheet. A small square cut of the sheet with the blood stains is conserved today in a glass picture frame. "Through the intercession of Padre Pio," writes this miraculously cured girl, "I have obtained other graces, especially for dying babies."
Padre Pio appears and cures a dying man
Mrs. Ersilia Magurno, a woman of great faith, for two months was taking care of her husband, who was stricken with influenza. This illness would not have given alarm were it not that he was also affiicted with a very weak heart. Night and day helped by a nun, the wife was watching her husband with every possible care, whilst praying and invoking Padre Pio. He grew worse and the doctors advised that the last rites be given to him because of the very alarming failure of his heart.
One night the wife noticed in the room a strong perfume of flowers. The next morning, however, a worse condition prevailed and the dying man was approaching his end. A telegram begged Padre Pio's intercession. Two days later Mr. Magurno entered the state of coma. The wife did not give up hope and sent a second telegram. Finally the 27th of Feb., 1947, the sick man after a day of prolonged crisis fell asleep. The nun was away and the wife remained alone to watch him and at midnight she noticed that his sleep was more restful than usual. At 7:30 in the morning, noticing that he was awakening, she rushed to his side and said, "How do you feel?"
"I am cured, I am well. Padre Pio just left the room; open the window please and take my temperature." It was entirely normal.
"Ernesto," asked the astonished wife, anxious to hear and to know. "What are you saying? Have you seen Padre Pio? And what, did he tell you?"
“He came together with another monk, he examined my heart and said, 'This fever will go away, tomorrow you will be cured and within four days you can get up.' “Padre Pio looked around, examined the medicines, read the medical reports and remained in the room all night." To confirm this miracle a strong odor of violets was observed in the room.
Five months later on July 27 the couple went to San Giovanni and Mr. Magurno immediately recognized Padre Pio as the monk who cured him. Padre Pio received him with fond greetings and placing his hand on his shoulder said to him: "How much this heart has made you suffer."
"Go away child for you have been cured"
We must not think that Padre Pio arrives always unexpectedly at the bedside of the sick, for at times he announced in advance the time of his coming. Once a little sick girl told her parents the approximate hour of his arrival, and the parents in their simplicity not understanding the phenomenon went to meet him at the railroad station. When they returned to the child disappointed, they found her asleep.
"Padre Pio didn't come," her mother said sadly, as soon as she saw her waking.
"Why he just left!," the child answered. A young girl, cured also providentially from a grave infirmity, desired to test the power of Padre Pio and she came to him feigning the infirmity that once afflicted her.
“Go away child," he said, striking her jokingly on the shoulder, "go away for you are quite cured and be careful that you never again tempt the mercy of the Lord."
He miraculously appears to baptise a baby as promised
A couple from Genoa visited Padre Pio to sadly tell him that they had no children.
"Bring him to me to be baptized when he is born," was his answer. From this reply and many other similar ones we discover that Padre Pio was often able to foretell the sex of an unborn child.
The following year the fortunate couple returned with their baby boy, but in the Church of Our Lady of Graces there was no baptismal font and there was such a crowd in the church that they could not reach Padre Pio. The mother remained in the Parish House of San Giovanni Rotondo one mile away, whilst the father went to the monastery to protest that Padre Pio had invited them to come there, otherwise they would not have come. He waited and his wait was in vain. He returned to the Parish House to learn from his wife that even though Padre Pio at the time specified was very preoccupied with the people had come and baptized the baby.
Padre Pio miraculously appears and rescues a condemned woman
Meanwhile some members of the firing squad entered her home with the pretext of searching for arms. Instead they began stealing money, objects of gold, clothing, until all of a sudden there thundered a shout, "Enough," so resolutely and imperiously that the soldiers fled abandoning their loot.
The sister of the condemned girl watching the whole scene cringing in a corner recognized in the shouting of "Enough," the voice of Padre Pio.
The order to aim and fire had been suspended because of the arrival of an interminable column of armored cars, horses, cannon, ambulances and marching troops. The commander of the firing squad remained standing on a car as if hypnotized.
The young teacher could hardly breathe as she reflected that her hour would come when the last soldier passed by. She began to pray to Padre Pio for the grace of seeing God's will in her execution. A gentleman approached her and asked what they had decided to do with her.
“I don't know, I no longer know anything, they are all away, there is only the commander there," as she pointed him out with a facial expression full of horror.
He was motionless as if cemented to his post. “Then consider yourself free and come with me."
He brought her in his automobile to her home where many women were comforting her griefstricken sister. The condemned girl threw herself into her sister's arms and then taking a picture of Padre Pio from the wall, kissed it and pressed it to her heart. In that instant she felt a hand gently patting her cheek.
A few months later the teacher went to San Giovanni to thank her saviour.
“Padre," she said, “my life will not be enough to thank you." He said: “My child, how much your faith caused me to run."
-St Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us!
A few quotes and sayings of Padre Pio:
"Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God."
"Love our Lady and make her loved; always recite the Rosary and recite it as often as possible."
"You must always humble yourself lovingly before God and before men, because God speaks only to those who are truly humble and He enriches them with His gifts."
"Humility and purity are the wings which carry us to God and make us almost divine."
"Hold on tightly to the Rosary. Be very grateful to the Madonna because it was she who gave us Jesus."
"Love Jesus, love Him very much, but to do this, be ready to love sacrifice more."
"Imagine Jesus crucified in your arms and on your chest, and say a hundred times as you kiss His chest, "This is my hope, the living source of my happiness; this is the heart of my soul; nothing will ever separate me from His love."
"Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is I want it to be a place of consolation for You.."
For those interested, I am offering a beautiful St Padre Pio relic locket rosary in the Gift Store here.
Those interested in making a Novena (9 days of prayer) seeking the holy intercession of St Padre Pio can find the Novena to St Padre Pio here.