Padre Pio Credited With Parish's Conversion
Former Orthodox Woman Says Saint Obtained Cure for Her
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By Nieves San Martín
PESCEANA, Romania, NOV. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The 71-year-old mother of a former Orthodox priest says she was cured of lung cancer through the intercession of Padre Pio. After the apparent miracle, the priest explained, he and his mother, and members of his parish, have become Catholics.
Lucrecia Tudor was born into the Romanian Orthodox Church and her son, Victor, followed a vocation to the priesthood. In 2002, he was working in Pesceana, close to Valcea, in south central Romania. Another son, Mariano, dedicated himself to painting, especially iconography, and lives and works in Rome.
The story of the family, and the church they are building dedicated to Saint Pio de Pietrelcina, was related to ZENIT by Italian journalist, Renzo Allegri.
Lucrecia was diagnosed with a tumor in her left lung more than five years ago. Romanian doctors told her surgery was impossible and she had few months to live. Lucrecia and Father Victor turned to Mariano for help, hoping that a doctor in Rome could be found to give a better prognosis.
Mariano contacted a well-known surgeon, who invited the young painter to bring his mother to Rome, where he would try to save her.
After reviewing the reports from his Romanian colleagues, the doctor examined Lucrecia with more detail, only to arrive at the same conclusion: An operation was useless. He could only offer medications to ease the sharp pain, which, he predicted would increase in the terminal phase.
Mariano kept his mother with himself in Rome so as to be near the doctor for checkups. He was working on a mosaic in a church and, as his mother does not speak Italian, he kept her close by. While he was working, his mother walked through the church, contemplating the paintings and statues.
In one corner, there was a large statue of Padre Pio. Lucrecia liked the statue and asked Mariano who it depicted. Mariano related briefly the story of the saint. In the coming days, he saw his mother spending all her time seated before the image, with which she chatted as if it were alive.
Two weeks later, Mariano took his mother to the hospital for her checkup. The doctor said the tumor had disappeared.
Lucrecia had asked Padre Pio to help her, even though she was Orthodox, and, she said, the saint had granted her request.
“The great cure of my mother, accomplished through Padre Pio in favor of an Orthodox woman, impressed me much,” Father Victor said. "I began to read the life of the Italian saint. I told my parishioners what had happened. They all knew my mother and everyone knew we had gone to Italy in order to try a surgical intervention, and that she had returned home cured, without any doctor having operated.
"In my parish, they began to know and love Padre Pio. We read everything we found about him. His holiness won us over. Meanwhile, in my parish other sick people also received extraordinary graces from Padre Pio. Among my people, there spread a great enthusiasm and, little by little, we decided to become Catholics, in order to be closer to Padre.”
The step from the Orthodox to the Catholic Church required a slow process. And there were difficulties of every kind, Allegri explained in relating the story. But the parishioners continued in the process and even decided to build a church to dedicate it to Padre Pio.
"The funds are the result of the savings of this poor people, and of the help of some German Catholics who heard our story,” Father Victor said. “And my parishioners are those who are bringing forward the work, working for free, naturally. […] After a few days, we celebrated solemnly the placing of the first stone. And it was a big party, because the Metropolitan Archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Julia of the Romanians, meaning, the highest authority of the Greek Catholic Church in Romania, came to celebrate […] To conclude this ceremony, the metropolitan wished to meet my mother, cured through a miracle of Padre Pio, and posed with her for a photo.”