February 8nd






PIO NICOLIS (priest)


Born: Verona Sep. 26, 1937

Entered: Cadellara Oct. 10, 1949

First Profession: Sep. 25, 1955

Perpetual Vows: Sep. 27, 1958

Ordination: June 21, 1964

Death: San Leonardo Feb. 8, 2024

Age: 86 years old  


He was born on September 26, 1937, in Pacengo (Verona). He took his perpetual vows on 27 September 27, 1958, and was ordained a priest on June 21, 1964. On Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 5:25 a.m., Fr. Pio ended his earthly existence. 

In the last month, his condition had worsened, so the Community of S. Leonardo gathered in his room to celebrate the anointing of the sick. Fr. Pio fought for years against leg cancer. But he has always been a man of courage and faith. 

We met a special confrere, one of a kind, who had dreamed of being a missionary since he was a boy, and had prepared himself for this mission with years of commitment to study and prayer.


It was not difficult to know the heart of Padre Pio: it was a simple heart, which loved humble things, aware of the talents that the Lord had given him but also aware of the fragility that every person encounters in the course of life.


As a young priest, he was not afraid to leave for Southern Italy, where our Institute was taking hold in the area of Battipaglia (SA), and Poggiomarino (NA). He was involved for some time in the outskirts of Bellizzi and Battipaglia, in small communities that had a shed or a school as a church, where he, a good shepherd, knew how to gather his sheep. And it was in this time that he matured his missionary vocation even more. So, after about ten years living in southern Italy, he left for Brazil. At that time, there were not many local vocations, and he left full of enthusiasm, along with other Italian brothers of his age. They found themselves on the outskirts of large metropolises, among the slums in Rio de Janeiro, among the lepers of Itobi, where another great missionary from Trentino, Father Vittorio Nardon, had started a village to provide shelter and hope to many people in difficulty. Padre Pio was like that: he loved simple things, he willingly spent time with children, his great friends, whom he knew how to win over with a candy and a smile. He knew many fragile situations of mothers who had to raise numerous children alone, because they were abandoned. He knew how to say a kind word to everyone, and literally emptied his pockets to meet the many needs of the poor. He could be defined as an original missionary, because there were no times in his life, when he met someone to help, that he chose lunches or dinners with the powerful of this world, but closeness to those who extended a hand to be helped.


Father Rubens Sodré Miranda, our Superior General until last year (2023), remembers him like this: «Padre Pio, with his characteristics and his bold courage, was a great missionary in the Brazilian lands, covering both the South and the center of the Brazilian territory, in a tireless and laborious apostolic mission. May God reward Padre Pio for his zeal and dedication. May now Padre Pio, after having fought the good fight, rest in the eternal meadows, next to God, our Lord."

In 1996, he had to return to Italy, as his right leg was bad. He even feared losing it, but he fought stubbornly, helped by his cane, until the doctors in Brescia found a way not to amputate it, even if he remained scarred. He did not give in to fate and returned several times to Brazil for short periods, hosted by a dear confrere from Verona, Father Giuseppe Sometti, who ran an orphanage in Sorocaba, in the State of Sao Paulo, where a Stigmatine was bishop: they seemed made to live one alongside each other, with some differences that occasionally marked their lives, but above all with such generosity and closeness to those who were less fortunate than them.

He wanted to spend several summers in Bosco Chiesanuova (VR), among the young people: for him, their company was a precious moment of life. and memories of that place that he had learned to love as a young student when he studied theology. 

The last part of his life was the painful climb to Calvary. His leg was increasingly painful. and the medicines were no longer having their effect.


I went to say goodbye to him on Wednesday evening (February 7, 2024). A few hours later, the Lord would call him to Heaven. We recited a Hail Mary together; he moved his lips and accompanied our prayer. 

Rest in peace.  

Fr. Lidio Zaupa


Versione italiana - Francese - Brasil -