TWO women have reported seeing an apparition of Saint Padre Pio at a church in Limerick City.
The women, who are involved in a local prayer group which organised a Mass to mark the 54th anniversary of the Italian Friar’s death, claimed to have seen the apparition in St Saviour’s Church on Friday, September 23.
Around 500 people attended the Mass organised by the “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry” prayer group, which is devoted to St Pio.
Mary Tynan, originally from Mayo and living in Limerick, and Nelly Cosgrave, from Ballybrown, said the prayer group had erected an enlarged photograph in the church which they believe shows an apparition of St Pio appearing during a Mass there on the 50th anniversary of his death in 2018.
The two women said a bright shape in the photograph changed colour and evolved into a discernible figure of St Pio dressed in a brown coloured habit.
Ms Tynan and Ms Cosgrave were at last Friday’s Mass, which was attended by around 500 people who received blessings with a healing glove worn by St Pio and which is now safeguarded by the Limerick prayer group.
“I think myself and Nelly saw it around the same time, it was absolutely amazing, I saw the picture lighting up, illuminating, it was wavering, you could see the light flashing on it,” said Ms Tynan.
The photograph was taken in St Saviour’s in 2018 by Cindy Russo, an American Padre Pio devotee.
“I saw the picture changing colours, it went all silvery and shiny, I was three seats back and it got so clear, this was gong on for a while,” said Ms Tynan.
“The floor in the photo became very clear, and Padre Pio appeared like a breeze, right down to the front of the picture. I could see his brown Capuchin habit, I could see that as clear as could be.
“It was so real, it’s very hard to explain it to people, it was remarkable, I kept looking, I was shocked but what do you do?”
“I think, because the two of us saw it, it proves that it did happen. I’m not taken-in easily, I know it happened, and I’m still trying to work it out.”
Ms Cosgrave, (92), said she also became transfixed as the picture “became illuminated”.
“I don’t know what drew my attention to it, but it was as if you turned a light on the picture – it became illuminated and all of a sudden everything changed in the photo and I could see Padre Pio in his brown habit coming down standing on the altar,” she explained.
“There was a blazing red colour and that lasted for about three to four minutes and gradually then, it just faded away and the picture went back to normal – it was most unusual.”
“I was thinking is Padre Pio doing this for me. Is this a sign for me to be more devoted to him or to talk about him? It was really beautiful.
“I gave Mary Tynan a nudge and I said look over at the picture, and she was in awe.”
49 year-old Will Stokes from Southill appears in the 2018 photograph taken by Ms Russo. When contacted, he said he did not see anything on either occasion but admitted he felt a “strange” presence around his head.
Mr Stokes, who is also linked to the prayer group, was standing beside some religious relics as a bright shape appears behind him on the altar at St Saviour’s Church at the 2018 anniversary mass.
While he said he was unaware of anything unusual happening behind him ,he felt like “someone blew on the back of my neck and the hair on my neck actually stood up”.
“I turned around to check was there someone behind me and there wasn’t. Then it happened a second time. I felt something brush on my neck, like a nice gesture, like a calming touch on my neck, and I thought no more of it.”
When he was shown the picture after the Mass, he “had to sit on the chair because of the shock and fright”.
“I recognised it was Padre Pio, even though it was a silhouette. I recognised the shape, I was shocked.”
Mr Stokes said he felt “a presence” again during last Friday’s Mass.
The group’s next devotion to St Pio will take place at St Saviour’s Church, Limerick Dominicans, from 2- to 4pm on Saturday, October 8, and thereafter, on the second Saturday of every month at the same times.