Matteo Pio Colella was just 7 years old when he contracted a deadly disease. Doctors believed there was no hope for the boy, but he made a full recovery. His cure was the miracle that paved the way for the canonization of St. Padre Pio by Pope John Paul II in June 2002.
Colella, now 27, gave an exclusive interview to ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language sister agency, on the occasion of the pre-release of the film “El Misterio del Padre Pío” (The Mystery of Padre Pio) in Madrid.
The documentary is directed by writer and filmmaker José María Zavala and includes Colella's testimony.
“I wasn't feeling well,” he recalled. “I told my mother that I didn't want to go to school, but she made me go because at that time I didn't like school. That same night, when my mother came to say goodnight, I didn't recognize her, and so they immediately took me to the hospital.”
On Jan. 20, 2000, Colella was diagnosed with acute fulminant meningitis, caused by bacteria. The disease had affected his kidneys, his respiratory system and blood clotting. He was immediately admitted to the hospital founded by Padre Pio, the “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” (Home for the Relief of Suffering), located in San Giovanni Rotondo where the saint's monastery is.
The following day, Colella went into a coma. His health deteriorated drastically, and doctors considered him a lost cause, thinking he would die within a few hours.
While Colella was in this critical condition, his mother Maria Lucia went to pray over the tomb of Padre Pio to ask for her son's healing.
“During the coma,” Colella recounted, “I saw Padre Pio in a dream on my right and three angels on the left. One with golden wings and a white tunic and the two others with white wings and a red tunic. Padre Pio, on my right, told me not to worry because I would soon be cured. In fact, my cure was like the resurrection of Lazarus.”
And that's exactly what happened. The doctors considered Colella to be clinically dead, but he came back to life.
The young man is grateful to Padre Pio for his intercession. He said he considers the saint to be like a grandfather in whom he can confide.
“I have always thought that I have received an enormous grace for which I must be thankful. When I talk to someone who doesn't believe, I tell him 'I'm here. For science it's inexplicable, but there is another explanation that we can't understand'.”
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.