Padre Pio is an Italian animated film that was based on the life of the saint of the same name. It was distributed by Mondo TV and released in 2006.
Our story begins in the mountains of Pietrelcina, a little village in the south of Italy. We soon meet the young Francis, the leading character of our story, who herds his parents’ small flock of sheep. He is greatly loved by the sheepdogs as well as a sizable sheep, and they play together whenever they can. He is very kind with them, though grumpy with both the kids and adults of the village who, as time goes by, consider him as a “good fellow,” even if a little lonely.
His friend Solomon loved and protected him very much, but soon it was Francis who began protecting many others. We then see Francis when, having been a friar for many years, he becomes priest and starts his mission despite his poor health. Here we should mention that youngsters are the target of our movie, and we will recount this priest's adventures specifically for them.
Apparently a severe man, silent and lonely at times, Francis showed friendship and sympathy to everybody in need of help, particularly toward the souls of the needy. We will tell about those who needed help, consciously or not, and turned to him in order to find relief. He especially cared about kids and teenagers, because they were the ones at which Jesus had looked particular love. Moreover, those who sought out advice or help from Padre Pio gradually began to understand that his succor far transcended the norm, even for a caring, experienced man such as him.
It often happened that common contact with him solved very serious problems, in non common ways. One individual was suddenly healed, someone else had some of his life’s problems solved, and all those who approached him felt a deep need to convert their life to God. Mysteriously marked by stigmata, his increasing popularity stemmed doubts, criticism and suspicions. There were also heavy accusations and restrictive prescriptions coming from his superiors.
Because of the target of our movie, we shall not stress such cases who made him suffer so much during his life. In fact, he didn’t even worry about these things. The only enemy he fought against day by day was the devil, who tried to trick him, but never succeeded because Padre Pio lived with God. In fact, Padre Pio sometimes felt like going out of himself to rush to the bedside of a suffering child or dying person, or to give advice and help to someone at the mercy of sickness or misfortune.
San Giovanni Rotondo, the small village where his friary was, became more and more a point of reference for many people whose bodies and souls were suffering. So he later decided to use an old Clarisse nunnery, and transform it into a little hospital with about twenty beds. At the time, there wasn’t any hospital in that region, the Gargano. It was the beginning of what he wanted to call “The House for the Relief of Suffering”, a project he said Jesus himself had asked him for. The work became huge, but he considered it mainly as a shelter for sick and poor people, whom he wanted to give spiritual more than physical health.
There are quite a few stories about women, men, and kids in need of saving.. who find the way to salvation through him. Beyond the anecdotes, the movie’s aim is to tell the youngsters about the life of a man who loved God, a path in which joy comes out of sorrow and in which each case of suffering is erased by love.