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The testimony of a general who converted: in the region of San Giovanni Rotondo, where the saint lived, a bomb never dropped
This extraordinary story about Padre Pio is told by Fr. Damaso di Sant’Elia , superior of the convent of Pianisi, Italy. The account appears formally in the ” Positio “, the official document that exposes the defense of the canonization of the famous Capuchin friar graced with the stigmata of the Passion of Christ.
“Several pilots of British and American aviation of various nationalities and diverse religions who, during World War II, after September 8, 1943, were in the Bari area to carry out missions on Italian territory, witnessed a fact out of the ordinary. In fulfilment of their duties, some airmen passed through the Gargano region, near San Giovanni Rotondo, and saw a ‘monk’ in the sky forbidding them to drop bombs on the site.
In Foggia and Apulia almost all of the bombings have occurred on several occasions, but, incredibly, in the area of San Giovanni Rotondo (where Padre Pio lived) there has never been a bomb. Direct witnesses of this fact was the general of the Italian air force, Bernardo Rossini, who, at the time, was part of the Command of Air Unit together with the allied forces.
General Rossini told me that among the military there was talk of a ‘monk’ who appeared in the sky and made the planes leave. Many laughed in disbelief at these stories, but because of the repeated occurrence of the episodes, and always with different pilots, the general decided to intervene personally: he took command of a squadron of bombers to destroy a German ammunition depot that was right in San Giovanni Rotondo.
We were all extremely curious to know the result of the operation. So when the squadron returned, we immediately went to find the general, who, astonished, told him that as soon as he arrived at the scene, both he and his pilots saw in the sky the figure of the ‘monk’ with his hands raised; the bombs fell apart and fell into a forest; and the planes turned around without any intervention from the pilots.
Everyone wondered who this “ghost” was to whom the planes obeyed. When he heard that there was a friar with stigmata in San Giovanni Rotondo, considered a saint by the community, the general thought that perhaps he was the “monk” seen in the sky and decided to personally prove it as soon as possible. When the war was over, this was the first thing he did. Accompanied by some of the pilots, he went to the monastery of the Capuchins and, crossing the threshold of the sacristy, found himself before several friars, among whom he immediately recognized the one who had stopped his planes.
Padre Pio approached and, putting his hand on his shoulder, said: ‘So you were the one who wanted to kill us all?’ The general knelt before Padre Pio, who, as usual, had spoken to him in the dialect of Benevento. The general, however, was certain that the ‘monk’ had spoken to him in English. The two became friends and the general, who was a Protestant, converted to Catholicism. ”