Vespers ring

I was the chaplain at the ONARMO (National Religious and Morals assistance to workers). I used to plan my assistance work week by week. A beneficial and ex-acting “Work”, commissioned by the Holy Seat to bring
spiritual relief to the working-class world. For over twenty
years I spent days and nights in factories, railway stations
and the various firms in Pescara. I had been appointed di-
rectly by the ordinary Bishop. This gave me the chance to
take many workers, either by coach or by other means of
transportation, to Padre Pio. Usually, workers would come
along together with their families. Railways and factories’ managers, as well as entrepreneurs would come, too.
Then, many of them would become good witnesses of Padre Pio and his spiritual children and active collaborators
in the Prayer Groups.
Almost on a weekly bases I could be near Padre Pio.
If I were on my own I used to go there by car, an old FIAT
500, almost a write off but it never let me down. It used
to take me three hours’ drive to get there, despite the fact
I used to go full throttle. For even more peace of mind, I
used to commend myself to Padre Pio to protect me while
I was driving. And he answered me: “Yes, of course, so if
you crash into somebody it’ll be my fault, right?”.
I replied: “Father, I ask for your protection as I neither
want to end up crashing into the curb or cause anyone else
to do so”. We both had a laugh.
During one of these trips, I arrived at two p.m. at San
Giovanni Rotondo.
I knew Padre Pio used to pray alone at that time on the
veranda, while our brothers were enjoying a well-deserved
afternoon nap so as to rest their bodies and be ready, later
on, to carry out their daily tasks with more energy, as they
were always long and tiring I did not ring the bell as I
did not want to disturb anyone. In my heart I asked Padre
Pio: send someone to open the door so that I can stay near
you, then, as the Vespers’ bell will ring, I will go out again
and ring the bell to come in. I straight away hear footsteps
behind me. It’s a nurse from the Home for Relief of the
Sufferings. He takes the key out and opens the door. Then,
standing on the side tells me: “Padre, do come in, please”.
I reach Padre Pio and greet him with immense joy and
thank him. He embraces me and invites me to sit next to
him. I stay till 3 pm to pray with him. We were alone.
At exactly 3 pm the bell rings for Vespers. I was not
moving from there. A few minutes later, Padre Pio turns
his gaze towards me and says: “Haven’t you heard the bell
ringing for Vespers?”.
I got up and went out as promised; then I rang the bell
and went in again.

P.G. Alimonti OFM cap, My days with P. Pio, pp 12,13