Part 1 - On modern-day fashions
Padre Pio said: “What mankind lacks today is prayer.”
“We seek God in books, but it is in prayer that we find Him.
Prayer is the key that opens the heart of God.”
Saint Pio’s personal advice to devotees
“In like manner I wish women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety…” 1 Timothy 2:9
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty…” Galatians 5:19
Padre Pio had extremely strong views on female fashions in dress. When the mini-skirt craze started, no one wearing one dared to come to Padre Pio’s monastery.
Padre Pio never tolerated those dressed in an inappropriate fashion. Women came not in mini skirts, but in skirts that were shortish. Padre Pio got very upset about this as well. One woman tried to change her skirt before going to confession; she borrowed a longer one from a friend. When she entered the confessional, he drew back the little shutter, and then snapped it shut again, stating: “Well? Have we been dressing up for a carnival, then?”
Any woman who came into his confessional wearing a skirt that was not eight inches below the knees was sent away immediately without being able to go to confession. Other women, who managed to enter dressed somewhat improperly, were ordered out by Padre Pio, with him sometimes shouting “out! out! out!”
Padre Pio tolerated neither tight skirts nor short or low-necked dresses. He also forbade his spiritual daughters to wear transparent stockings. His severity increased each year. He would dismiss women from the confessional, even before they got inside, if he discerned their dress to be inappropriate. Many mornings he drove one out after another – ending up hearing only very few confessions. He also had a sign fastened to the church door, declaring:
“By Padre Pio’s explicit wish, women must enter his confessional wearing skirts at least eight inches below the knees. It is forbidden to borrow longer dresses in church and to wear them for the confessional.”
Padre Pio would rebuke some women with the words, “Go and get dressed.” He would at times add: “Clowns!” He wouldn’t give anyone a pass, whether they were people he met or saw the first time, or long- time spiritual daughters. In many cases, the skirts were many inches below the knees, but still weren’t long enough for Padre Pio’s severity. Boys and men also had to wear long trousers, if they didn’t want to be kicked out of the church.