Our Story
vera marie calandra

Our Story

In April of 1966, Vera and Harry Calandra were thrilled to welcome their fifth child to the world. But Vera Marie, born with congenital defects of the urinary tract, was ultimately given a death sentence before the completion of her first year of life.

After all medical hope had been given up, the Calandras relied even more heavily on their faith. After being introduced to the life of Padre Pio through reading a book, Vera began to experience signs that her prayers were being heard. Padre Pio began making his presence known to her, first through the fragrance of roses, and then by distinct locution: “Bring your little girl here to me in Italy and do not delay, come immediately.”

“Bring your little girl here to me in Italy and do not delay…”

Encouraged by her husband Harry, Vera obediently listened to Padre Pio’s call. With her oldest child Michael, newborn Christina and now two year old Vera Marie in tow, Vera traveled to San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, to meet the “priest who worked miracles.” The young mother was granted two audiences with Padre Pio where he blessed her and children, placing his sore, wounded hands on their heads. While in the presence of the future saint, Vera kissed his hand and spoke to him through her heart. “Please God, make a miracle so that all the people will believe.” She made a silent promise to Almighty God that if her daughter were to live, the whole world would know the greatness of Padre Pio.

“Please God, make a miracle so that all the people will believe.”

Vera’s prayers were answered: upon returning to the United States with Vera Marie, her doctors discovered a “rudimentary bladder” growing in place of the one that had been removed. Vera Marie’s health improved greatly, her prognosis was strong, and Vera kept the promise she made to God in Italy. The Calandras devoted their lives to bringing souls to God through the intercession of Padre Pio, eventually founding the National Centre for Padre Pio in 1971.

Today, Vera Marie serves as the Centre’s Assistant Manager and Vice President, working alongside two of her sisters and several of her nieces and nephews to lead the Centre into a future of growth.


Visit the Centre

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


Padre Pio’s Story

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Padre Pio dedicated his life to loving God—on the Altar, in the Confessional, and in the community.

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Meet the Staff

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Our dedicated team works to make the National Centre for Padre Pio a true spiritual sanctuary.



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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