Our Founders
vera & harry calandra 50th anniversary

Our Founders

In the spring of 1966, Vera and Harry Calandra were living the American Dream. They were successful business owners, parents of four beautiful children with a fifth on the way, and devout Catholics at Holy Savior Church. They were pillars of the predominantly Italian community of Norristown, PA.

In just a few years, however, their world would forever change. The miraculous healing of their fifth child, Vera Marie—who was born with congenital defects and made a full recovery after an audience with Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy—inspired in them a promise to continue the work of Padre Pio in the United States.

Today, the National Centre for Padre Pio in Barto, PA, is the fulfillment of that promise. The Calandras devoted their lives to bringing souls to God through the intercession of Padre Pio. Over the course of her life and work, Vera would speak at monasteries, seminaries, colleges, universities and convents all around the world and go on to receive prestigious papal honors.

Only a few months after celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary, Vera M. Calandra passed away in her home on August 19, 2004, surrounded by her loving family. Her devoted husband Harry assumed her role as President and continued the work he and his wife started until he joined her on April 13, 2018. As the perfect conclusion to their story, Harry was laid to rest on what would have been their 64th wedding anniversary.

The legacy of Vera and Harry is very much alive at the Centre today. Three of their daughters continue to work here, as well as several grandchildren who will spearhead the next generation. We encourage any and all to visit to learn more about our beloved Padre Pio, the work of the Centre, and the history of our family with Padre Pio.

Our History

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Make a real and lasting contribution to the continuation of Padre Pio’s legacy.


Visit the Centre

visit centre

Plan your group pilgrimage or individual visit to the National Centre for Padre Pio.


Explore the Centre

bell tower

View our photo gallery to see the Centre’s spiritual sites, shrines, and grounds.


Due to storm damage, we currently do not have phone service at the Centre.  However, our website is fully functional, so feel free to contact us this way.  Additionally, the Centre is fully open to visitors and following our normal operating schedule. Thank you.

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