If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
Padre Pio's Fake Attempts to Hide Stigmata
St Padre Pio was an Italian Franciscan who said he got the visible stigmata in 1918 after having pains in his hands and feet and side on and off since 1915.
There is no evidence that the stigmata were really the miracle he said they were. A doctor only gave an opinion that they were deep marks. He was clear he was not sure.
Pio and his followers claim that the stigmata was a burden and an embarrassment
to him is simply a lie. He loved to show them off. But in time he pretended that
he wanted to hide them as he was embarrassed.
The Daily Mail, June 19, 1920, said that huge crowds queued up to gaze at the markings on Pio's hands, his feet and his head (page 95, The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism).
Pio wore mittens nearly all the time, he may have only made the wounds when he needed to show them.
Pio did often hide his stigmata but that could have been for fear he would be found out. It is easier to fake if you find an excuse for not making your handiwork visible all the time. Perhaps they were not exposed because they had healed! And Pio complained that he would get too much attention if he bared them but one thing is certain this may have got him peace to live his daily life but it made the outside world adore him more than he ever thought possible. And there is no doubt that when God does a miracle as many people as possible or bearable should see it. The hiding shows that Pio knew more than he was letting on. Pio being more open about the wounds would not mean he was an egostistic exhibitionist. Of course he could be but there would be no reason to accuse him of being one. His being open would mean he was sincere.
The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism speaks of Pio’s "wounds" being seen by several people on different occasions (page 99).
If Pio was really serious about hiding his wounds, an allegation that supporters use to argue that he did not make them himself for if he had he would have been keen to show them, then why did give this message to a doctor who believed that Pio developed his wounds by contemplating the crucifix: “Tell that doctor to stare at a cow and see if horns grow on his head” (www.rense.com/general26/padrepio.htm). Now this statement tells us three things. One that Pio wanted his wounds to be recognised as a miracle which belied his saying they embarrassed him and that he wanted to hide them. When he wanted that to happen and was afraid to put them on display too much that indicates fraud. Two that Pio knew fine well that the doctor meant that there must be something unique about Pio if his wounds were not self-inflicted that enabled him to develop them by contemplating the cross. Pio was misrepresenting the doctor for his own benefit which again belied his claim that he wanted no attention. Three that Pio knew the doctor did not mean looking at something was enough. What the doctor meant was that the crucifix was used as a focus to help Pio put himself under the skin of Christ and feel his pain as if he was going through what Christ went through which induced the wounds. Pio knew doctors are not so silly as to think that looking at a cross would make wounds. Again he misrepresented the doctor for his own ends.
Even if Pio was faking his wounds it was in his best interest to hide the wounds most of the time for it got him the best of both worlds. But as you can see from this photograph Pio did reveal his wounds when it suited him and he knew that it was enough to show them a few times and there was no need for them to be made available to view all the time.
There are too many photos similar to the above. Pio meant for his wounds to be photographed. Why not ban photographs? Many churches do!! Pio by pretending to want to hide his wounds only make the photographers more interested!!
Pio could have been one of these strange people who enjoy making themselves
bleed and suffer wounds. Pio would not admit to that and there is no reason to
think he didn’t have a disorder like that. And his wounds were
bearable. And we don't even know if they were fit to be called wounds and
Despite Pio’s hiding his wounds he let some “accidental” exposures of the hand wounds happen. This usually happened when he elevated his arms during Mass and his vestments slipped back.
Why would Pio wear mits that left the fingers exposed most of the time when saying Mass and when he had to elevate his arms and not all the time? He knew that cranks would say that he was so humble that he wanted to hide the wounds and that they would surmise that this proved he didn’t make them himself. He knew how hard people were trying to get a glimpse of the wounds and better still a photograph and he didn’t take enough precautions. Many of the faithful alleged that they could see light through the wounds in hands when he lifted up the host during the Mass. The hands would have been together for the host was held between the forefingers and the thumbs so it is hard to see how they could have seen any light but it makes it clear that Pio did like to display the marks. At a distance it is easy to see what you want to see. Lies about seeing miracles are common in places where alleged miracles happen.
All saints-to-be have followers who cook up ridiculous miracle stories about them and there were a lot about Pio. He never condemned these stories so it would be no mystery if he faked his own stigmata.
Pio knew that he couldn't be too open about showing off. That would only have brought down suspicion on him.