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He was alone in prayer when a man appeared out of nowhere.
Padre Pio is known for his many mystical experiences during prayer, often piercing the heavenly veil while on earth. One such experience involved an unexpected encounter with a soul from purgatory.
One day while praying alone, Padre Pio opened his eyes to see an old man standing there. He was surprised by the presence of another person in the room and explained in his testimony, “‘I could not imagine how he could have entered the friary at this time of night since all the doors are locked.”
Seeking to unravel the mystery, Pio asked the man, “Who are you? What do you want?”
The man responded, “Padre Pio, I am Pietro Di Mauro, son of Nicola, nicknamed Precoco. I died in this friary on the 18th of September, 1908, in cell number 4, when it was still a poorhouse. One night, while in bed, I fell asleep with a lighted cigar, which ignited the mattress and I died, suffocated and burned. I am still in purgatory. I need a holy Mass in order to be freed. God permitted that I come and ask you for help.”
Pio comforted the poor soul by saying, “‘Rest assured that tomorrow I will celebrate Mass for your liberation.”
The man left and the next day Pio did some investigative work and discovered the veracity of the story and how a man of the same name died on that day in 1908. Everything was confirmed and Padre Pio celebrated a Mass for the repose of the old man’s soul.
This was not the only appearance of a soul from purgatory asking Padre Pio for prayers. Pio claimed, “As many souls of the dead come up this road [to the monastery] as that of the souls of the living.” Many times the souls would ask for a Mass to be said for them, highlighting the spiritual weight of a Mass and how it can lessen the time a person spends in purgatory before embracing the glories of heaven.