Italians will sometimes speak of having a "spiritual father." Growing up in Catholic America I never once heard this expression from anybody. By this Italians do not exactly always mean a spiritual director or pastor or a parish priest.
My spiritual father is Padre Pio. He was the spiritual father of Pope John Paul II, too. Please, Catholics everywhere, have a spiritual father. Consider Padre Pio.
In February and then in March of 2008 the body of Padre Pio was first exhumed and then the coffin was opened. He was found to be incorrupt. A signum fidei, his flesh had turned dark, but remained incorrupt. Now one can see this as his body is displayed in the lower crypt chapel of the friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
I'm here on retreat at his tomb now. In the presence of his sacred remains I carry your private intentions in my heart. He was a stigmatist. A friar. A miracle-worker and now in death has been found to be incorrupt.
This destination is a must for all who visit Rome. Yes, Assisi, but San Giovanni Rotondo, too. It's just three hours from Rome by train. There is a pensione here, the last one star pensione that remains in this town, where one can stay on the cheap.
Visit. See the miracles. See the countless here who still live even today who knew him and lived with him and shared him as a spiritual father.
The last pensione here (cheap place to stay) where I'm staying is the same pensione where Fr. Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, stayed in 1947 when he came here during his Easter holiday.
Fr. Wojtyla arrived in Rome in November of 1946 for studies but his desire was to soon visit Padre Pio to ask him if he would be his spiritual father. The future Pope went to Confession to the mystic here and later visited again as a Cardinal and then more than once as Pope.
The same woman who worked at the pesione then is now 95 years old and remembers when she met the young Pole and shares the experience with everyone. Padre Pio made her promise to pray the rosary every day of her remaining life. She made this promise and to this day, since her arrival in 1936, prays the holy rosary every day.