'There was no doubt that he was near God'
Mary O'Connor, from Cork, recalls meeting Padre Pio in the 1950s. She is now in her late 80s.
"I first saw him when he was hearing confessions. It was amazing to witness. People were coming along and pulling his hands out of the confession box. I thought it was desperate. At times, he could be very cross and that's how he was that day. You could hear him giving little shouts from inside the confessional.
"I was waiting outside the confessional, along with my son. The next thing, Padre Pio came out. He gave me his hands to kiss, he put his hands on my head and he put his hands on my boy. I looked into his face and I got an awful fright. He looked supernatural. He was different from any other living being I have ever seen. He literally shone and his eyes were remarkable.
"There is no doubt that he was near God. He was linked to God and he was oblivious to everything else. I will never forget him. I can still see him as clearly as if he was just coming down the aisle."