Padre Pio’s miracle work seen at Barto, PA

Padre Pio has a close connection with Philadelphia because of a woman called in a prayer to bring her sick child to see him in 1968 and the blessing he granted that led to her miracle cure just a few weeks before he died.

The woman, Mrs. Vera Calandra of Norristown, PA. brought her daughter, Vera Marie, to meet the friar in Italy, where he placed his wounded hands on the child and caused the miracle the Vatican would later use to confirm Padre Pio as a saint.

The family raised money and helped to build a shrine in honor of the man in Barto, PA. I visited there and watched a film narrated by Robert Stack of television’s black and white presentation of “The Untouchables.” The movie told the history of the Calandra family and how the child’s blessing lead to the miracle that doctors at CHOP, the Children’s’ Hospital of Philadelphia, could not explain in medical terms.


Vera Marie was born in 1966 with congenital defects of the kidneys and urinary tract, according to medical records. After two years and several operations, her doctors told her mother that the child was not going to live.

Mrs. Calandra prayed to Padre Pio and one day she experienced the fragrance of fresh roses and then heard his voice telling her to bring Vera Marie to Italy to visit. On September 1, 1968, Vera and her ill daughter arrived at Padre Pio’s church where he blessed her.

The doctors had removed Vera Marie’s bladder during one of the many operations she had undergone prior to her pilgrimage to Padre Pio. Their discovery upon her return was a “rudimentary bladder” growing in place of the one they had removed.

 In other words, it was a miracle!


It couldn’t have come at any better time because the holy man died on September 23, 1968, just three weeks after his blessing.

Padre Pio.JPG

Padre Pio statue at the shrine in Barto, PA


I remember making my way to the cathedral-like shrine off of Route 100, just north of Bey’s Crystal Shop. After saying prayers and marveling at the beautiful statues adorned in the building. I particularly liked those depicting St. Michael the Archangel who was Padre Pio’s favorite. I visited the museum where there are enlarged photos of the friar as well as one of the beds that he had slept in.

They even had a replica of an Italian Fiat roadster the sainted man sat in while being escorted from his home to bless those in a nearby hospital.

It was in the gift shop, however, that I received my most blessed surprise. A woman in her early 40s was waiting on a customer. She was pointed out to me by someone who knew her.

It was Vera Marie in full blossom helping pilgrims like myself to commemorate our visit to such a site. Her miracle was one of two the Vatican used when it cannonized Padre Pio making him a saint.

She laughed when she saw me kneeling and asked me to rise while giving me a big hug, one of which I will always cherish and remember.

How often can one say they actually embraced a miracle baby?

11 comments on “Padre Pio’s miracle work seen at Barto, PA

  1. Patricia Donohue says:

    Michael, Michael – this is one more thing we have in common – I belong to a Writers’ Group in Telford through the library. I have experienced a blossoming through writing. I love the theme from this article, as I did not have that opportunity to hope when my son was alive, and heavily empathize with a mother desperately trying to find hope for their child. (One of the reasons some of my bequests will go to St. Jude’s Hospital.) I do believe in miracles and talents that God gives to us to give hope and peace to others.


    • contoveros says:

      I would love to read something you might have written as long as it is not too X-rated!

      Ah hell. I’ll read that too . . .
      Isn’t it great to mix spiritual stuff with a little humor? We have so much inside that it would be a shame to not let the kid in us out to joke and have fun while still honoring the Almighty!


  2. contoveros says:

    Here are the comments this post generated on Facebook:

    Bill Benedict
    My man pots and pans. Great article Mike.
    Thanks to my Brewerytown friend. I haven’t heard that expression “My man, pots, and pans” for a long time and it always takes me back to the 60’s . . .
    Very spiritual bro!

    Diane Whitmore
    Good article, Mike. My son, Kerry, worked at the Centre in Barto for 12 years, as their communications assistant. He has a close connection to Padre Pio, and just loves the Calandra family.
    He was very fortunate and must have a lot of stories to tell.
    Thank you kindly!

    Rose DeLone
    I have been there several times. It is beautiful.
    Someday I hope that we’ll read about your visits. Good to hear from you my writing friend!

    Terri Kiral
    Just a few miles from me. Wonderful place. A must visit. I got to press his glove against my chest.
    It is a holy place and filled with lots of good spirits.

    Sharon Sabrarose Ivanov
    Yay, for PA!
    TX for sharing this great story! OX
    Thank you, my mystical friend. I hope things are improving and that we’ll see you at the monthly share.

    Luba Schmid
    How wonderful!
    You should check it out sometime. It’s worth the trip from Philly!

    Rose DeLone
    I often light candles in the little outside sanctuary for my friends/family who need healing. They even brought out Padre Pio’s glove once for a very sick friend of mine.

    Bob Palumbo
    Bob Palumbo
    What a great experience sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. A visit seems to be in my future
    It will be a memorable experience particularly if you can hook up with a group or attend one of the events held there so that you can see one of the gloves he used to cover his hands . . .
    The following friends clicked the “like” button at Facebook and are now guaranteed to get into heaven:

    Rosemary DeRosa, Terri Kiral, Fred Tomasello Jr., Tamara Ambros, Lynn Cotellese, Jacquelyn Smith, Diane Whitmore, Nadja Dalantinow Cross, JoAnne Courtney DeRocini, Pamela Mundy Hicke’, Karen Denise, Denise DiLorenzo Bowden, Angela Marie Petrilli, John A Contos, Jim Hubmaster and Sharon Sabrarose Ivanov.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Although not since 2016, I have visited this shrine many times and did not know that Vera Marie worked there. Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gloria says:

    Hi Michael,
    I have been keeping up with you through your posts.
    I remember fondly meeting you and chatting at the Centre for Padre Pio
    Nice to see that you return, as I do, to that peaceful place.
    Gloria P.

    Liked by 1 person

    • contoveros says:

      Great to hear from you, Gloria. I remember the times we would meet at the shrine and the sharing we were able to provide our spirits.

      It is a sacred place, one filled with goodness and all that is right with the world around us and within us. Some would even call that miraculous.

      Liked by 1 person

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