The Padre Pio Foundation of America

How It All Started

A Visit From Padre Pio: The Story of Joe and Marge Spada


These events took place in 1975 in Joe Spada's final days, six years after Padre Pio had passed away. In gratitude and in memory of her husband, Marge Spada founded The Padre Pio Foundation of America.

In 1975, Marge Spada's husband, Joe, was hospitalized with terminal cancer. Up to this time, Marge had never heard of Padre Pio. Then a friend gave her a book for Joe to read on the life of Padre Pio, the Capuchin priest who bore the stigmata, the crucifixion wounds of Christ.

Joe read the book. He was so impressed that he began to pray to Padre Pio. Then unexpected things began to happen!

On several occasions, when Joe's nurses came into his room, they were overcome by the beautiful aroma of fresh flowers, but couldn't understand where the aroma was coming from - there were no flowers in the room!

The Gift of Perfume: Pope John Paul II calls the aroma of Padre Pio "The aroma of sanctity." This aroma to some people is the sweet smell of tobacco and to others, it is the aroma of fresh flowers. When one smells this aroma of Padre Pio, he is telling you he is with you.

Joe told Marge frequently, Padre Pio would walk up and down the halls of the hospital with him!

On one particular night, Marge arrived at the hospital. As she sat down beside Joe, he said, "Marge, Padre Pio was here just a short time ago, and he was sitting where you are sitting."

As Joe was telling Marge of Padre Pio's visit, her eyes fell on a handkerchief that she did not recognize. As she reached for it, Joe said, "That's Padre Pio's handkerchief. He put it there on the stand just before he left."

Padre Pio made many visits to Joe at the hospital, by aroma and through bilocation. Joe was not healed of cancer - but his last days were peaceful, living proof of Padre Pio's promise to be with those who pray to him or call upon him for assistance.

Padre Pio did not abandon Marge, either, in her time of need. After the funeral, although it was a frosty autumn day, visitors who arrived at her home said they could smell the aroma of fresh flowers outside surrounding her home. And Marge tells that on several occasions, Padre Pio's handkerchief has given off the aroma of fresh flowers.

On Joe's tombstone, Marge had carved, "Joe had a vision of Padre Pio."

Marge's love for Padre Pio and her desire to share him with everyone is why she founded The Padre Pio Foundation of America.

To this day, Marge feels the presence of Padre Pio through the gift of perfume, and she knows that he is with her in her prayers.


(Marge Spada went to her eternal home on Christmas Eve, 2011.  Her last days continued to be filled with spreading devotion to Padre Pio at the hospital.  She was a wonderful woman with so much energy and love for Padre Pio.  Her phone calls and visits to the PPF are very much missed.  Padre Pio said, "I will wait outside the gates of Heaven until all of my spiritual children are inside." Surely, he was waiting there with a warm embrace for Marge along with her husband Joe. Rest in Peace Marge.)


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