The “Padre Pio” Reading Room was established in May of 1990 with the strong support of Brother Gerardo Di Flumeri.
On 9 June 2004 it was enriched with new furniture and new rooms and inaugurated by His Excellency Msgr. Mauro Piacenza, President of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and Dr Filippo Anastasi, deputy director of Giornale Radio Rai.
The merits of Brother Francesco D. Colacelli should be noted, who had the sensitivity to initiate a series of works to make the reading room more comfortable and functional. The entire foundation supported the initiative to create a Christian-inspired library in San Giovanni Rotondo, located near the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie and the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (House for the Relief of Suffering).
The “Padre Pio” Reading Room is part of the group of National Franciscan Libraries associated with ABEI (Italian Ecclesiastical Librarians Association) and also falls under the Ministry of Environmental, Library and Cultural Assets.
It specializes in the following areas:
1. The spirituality and life of Padre Pio: this need and request came from Padre Pio’s followers. Pilgrims and tourists wanted a reading centre where they could learn more about the life and spirituality of St. Pio of Pietrelcina:
2. The spirituality and history of the Franciscan order that Padre Pio was a part of.
3. The spirituality and history of the church – the history of San Giovanni Rotondo, Puglia, Italy and other nations, as people from all parts of the world come to the library.
The Room has got a nearly complete collection of what has been written about the stigmatized monk from 1919 to the present day (clippings from newspapers, magazines, journals, brochures, books… more or less anything that has been printed about the Saint over the last ninety years). It is a precious collection that will especially benefit those preparing dissertations on topics relating to the figure and personality of St. Pio of Pietrelcina. Currently there are approximately 30,000 volumes, 5,000 brochures, 2,500 manuscripts, 250 charts and maps, 30 magazines, 1,000 photographs, 100 slides, 200 disks, 100 cassettes and 100 video cassettes catalogued. Soon all of the electronically formatted material will also be catalogued. It will be accessible in an area set up at the entrance to the Reading Room, where on 12 June 1966 upon returning to Italy for administrative voting, San Pio stopped at the home of his niece Pia Forgione in Pennelli and spent time at her sick brother Michele’s bedside in this room. There is also a large gallery of renowned artist Antonio Ciccone’s paintings which are dedicated to Saint Pio. In the encyclopaedia room, sculptor Pericle Fazzini’s original sketch of the monument of St. Pio erected in the town square is displayed.