In recent years, San Giovanni Rotondo, home of St. Padre Pio, receives millions of visitors annually. During his lifetime, he personally received hundreds of thousands of penitent sinners and heard their confessions, with the goal of converting them further to Christ. However, with some visitors from Naples, he had an odd response to them coming to see him. “Why do you come here, if you have Don Dolindo in Naples? Go to him, he’s a saint!”
Just who was Padre Pio referring to? A priest of Naples, Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo, born in 1882 and died in 1970. He is now revered as a Servant of God – the beginning stages along the path to sainthood. He shared a zeal for souls with St. Pio and has been quoted as saying we all play a role in this endeavor with the words, “It is the duty of every Catholic to contribute to the salvation of souls.”
He was known to have said to people to knock on his tomb after his death so he could continue to answer when they asked for prayers from him. He is buried in the parish church of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Joseph of the Aged in Naples, where he served for many years. Thousands still seek out his intercession annually - many by literally knocking on his tomb.
Fr. Dolindo was greatly devoted to surrendering himself to God’s Will. He also had a special love for our Blessed Mother. Despite suffering greatly throughout his life, or perhaps because of his intimate experience with suffering, he joyfully offered a “prescription” to his parishioners and those who came to him for counsel: “Divine remedy: divine obedience to the Will of God mixed with daily drops of the Hail Mary.”
He availed himself of this remedy quite often, as he was devoted to praying the Rosary and composed a novena of surrender to Jesus. Based around the repetition of the simple phrase, “O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!” following meditations on surrender given to Fr. Dolindo by Jesus, this novena encourages each of us to abandon ourselves to the Will of God and allow ourselves to be transformed by His grace.
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