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San Giovanni Rotondo - World's 2nd Most Popular Catholic Shrine...

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after the Vatican. The faithful flock here to pay homage to Padre Pio, a controversial but immensely popular religious figure in Italy who professed to have mystical and supernatural powers and even miraculously got the stigmata in 1918 when five wounds appears on his wrists and started bleeding.

An obvious farud in many ways but one that captivated many Italians. Look in taxis and buses - they often have a picture of Padre Pio up front.

Padre Pio was also accused of sexual misdeeds, one reason his sainthood was held up so long - he died in 1968 but became a Saint only in 2002 after popular demand forced the hand of the Vatican.

Padre Pio anyway is an interesting character who could mesmerize folks.

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/san-giovanni-rotondo-padre-pio-shrine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L39T9e34WXk

HAS ANYONE BEEN TO THE SHRINE AND CITY? I was nearby a few weeks ago but did not have time to make the journey but have been regretting it ever since. I'd love to hear a bit about your experiences and the overall atmosphere - is it like Lourdes or Fatima?

Thanks in advance.

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