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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Visit the Centre

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


Explore the Centre

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



UPDATED 4/18/2020
Dear Devotees of St. Pio,
Due to the outbreak and quick spread of the Coronavirus in our area, all indoor visitor areas of the National Centre for Padre Pio will be CLOSED to the public until further notice (visitors are still welcome to visit the Centre to pray at our outdoor shrines and candle prayer garden). Note that our offices will remain staffed; our phones are still up and running, and we will be here answering your calls and taking your prayer petitions to place on one of Padre Pio’s gloves. We will also continue to keep religious items available and fulfill orders, including Padre Pio Blessed Holy Oil, relic prayer leaflets, rosaries, medals, and scapulars. Additionally, we will continue to fulfill requests for Masses as well as for us to light votive candles to burn in our candle garden for your intentions. We may be reached at 610-845-3000 or info@padrepio.org from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

We especially invite you to join us in prayer every day, as we pray the Rosary, the Efficacious Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Prayer to St. Pio, and the Prayer to Combat the Coronavirus via live video each day at 11:30 AM EST, as well as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3:00 PM EST. Simply click on the blue Facebook Icon at the top right of our homepage (note that you don’t need to have a Facebook account to watch our broadcast; if you don’t have a Facebook account and don’t want to create one, simply click “Not Now” when prompted to create an account).

 Yours in Jesus, Mary, and St. Pio of Pietrelcina,

The Calandra Family, Executive Director Nick Gibboni, and the Staff of the National Centre for Padre Pio

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