Two women have reported seeing an apparition of the 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 saint’s death, claimed to have seen the apparition inside St Saviour’s Church last Friday.
Around 500 people attended the mass organised by the “Pray, Hope & Don’t Worry” prayer group, which is devoted to St Pio. The prayer group had erected an enlarged photograph inside St Saviour’s Church which they believe shows an apparition of St Pio appearing during a mass in the Limerick church in 2018.
The two eye-witnesses, Mary Tynan, originally from Co. Mayo and living in Limerick, and Nelly Cosgrave, from Ballybrown, Co. Limerick, said a bright shape in the photograph changed colour and evolved into a discernible figure of St Pio dressed in a brown-coloured habit.
“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 the church in 2018 by Cindy Russo.
“I saw the picture changing colours, it went all silvery and shiny, I was three seats back and it got so clear, this was going 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, and he was standing on his side,” Tynan continued.
“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?
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,” said Ms Cosgrave.
“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.
“What did I think? 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, but it was really beautiful.”
She added: “I gave Mary Tynan a nudge and I said look over at the picture, and she was in awe.”
Will Stokes, 49, from Southill, appears in the 2018 photograph taken by Ms Russo. When contacted, he said he did not see anything at the 2018 mass, or the recent mass, but he admitted he felt a “strange” presence around his head.
Mr Stokes was standing beside a number of religious relics as a bright shape appears behind him on the altar at St Saviour’s Church at the 2018 mass.
While 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”.
When he was shown the picture, 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.”
The group’s next devotion to St Pio will take place at St Saviour’s Church, Limerick Dominicans, from 2pm to 4pm, October 8, and thereafter on the second Saturday of every month at the same times.