Luigi Gaspari wrote himself these autobiographical notes that were published for the first time on the "Book of Love" in the Italian Edition of 1982.

…If you are good, when you are grown up, I will send you to the Holy Prophet.

These words often returns and relive in my memory of my Mother: that Holy Prophet was Padre Pio. My Mother was teaching me, the tenth son, to know how to recognize and love in the Prophet the messenger of God.
The wonderful stories about the prodigies and the goodness of Padre Pio through those beloved words became a topic of conversations. The conversations aroused in me an interest in knowing the Prophet more intimately, the Prophet that my mother promised to give me as a guide to knowing God.
My interest in knowing Padre Pio increased together with my desire to become older more quickly.
I was born in San Felice sul Panaro on April, 9th, 1926, where my parents, along with other partners, were in charge of a mill. My father was an indefatigable worker. Due to this, he lived in surroundings which were least propitious for cultivating and increasing his knowledge of the problems of the spirit.
The faith and love of my mother gave continuous nourishment to the life of the Spirit of God. As for my beloved father, many remember, and will continue to remember, the exceptional trials of his love for his neighbour in extreme humility.
The gift of God in my father, owing to the good faith of his nature, brought him to excesses of trust in man, hence of generosity towards people who, not in good faith, took advantage of him.
The commandament of God, “Love your neighbour as yourself”, in the great heart of my father ended up by being love for the neighbour more than for himself. For this reason, in the years preceding and immediately following my birth, my parents found themselves in very grave difficulties. They had to start again from nothing, after having spent a life of very hard work and with nine children to take care of.
Divine Providence, always loved and invoked by the unfailing faith of the spirit of my mother, did not delay in extending Its hand, Its Counsel. The counsel of the Holy Spirit arrived in the guise of a letter from Padre Pio to the house in San Felice where it was expected, it was invoked by a mother and a father of nine children, humiliated by the indifference of men for the loss of the fruit of their labour.
The Holy Spirit advised my mother to adhere to his words given by the Prophet, the humble friar of Pietrelcina, at that time barely know, and even less recognized by the majority of men, as a man of God.
The counsel given by Padre Pio was not to listen to the bad advisors, who were trying to influence my father, in order to induce him to take the wrong path.
The right path indicated by Divine Providence was to tranfer the family to Pavignane. Padre Pio assured us that work in that little center would not be lacking and would have compensated my father for all the sacrifices and bitterness, for all his work that had not been repaid.
I was two years old when I went to Pavignane and, during my five year stay there, I heard the first stories about the wonderful life of  Padre Pio.
With great admiration I used to look at the picture of the man who was so fascinating for his mysteriousness. I was learning to love and feel him to be a living member of my family, as an invisible, beloved guide of my life.
In the year 1933, a second counsel addressed to my mother came to us from Padre Pio. Part of the family, my parents and myself included, should move to San Matteo della Decima, a suburb of San Giovanni in Persiceto.
After living for seven years in Decima, my mother kept the promise made to me in my infancy to send me to the Prophet of God when I became older.
At the age of 14, I met Padre Pio for the first time. The reality was not inferior to the expectation that, according to my mother, would be exceptional. I did not understand which was the mysterious way that had given so much knowledge, faith and love to my mother through the instrumentality of God that not all men recognized as such.
San Matteo della Decima is about 600 kilometres from San Giovanni Rotondo.
My mother had never had any conversation with Padre Pio. Only once, in 1949, she went to San Giovanni Rotondo for a brief visit.
From very few people, in my numerous travels to San Giovanni Rotondo, have I heard such convincing and wise words as those that my mother was able to say, in order to make known and loved Padre Pio as the Prophet sent by God.
This mystery was clarified for me by Padre Pio himself, many years after that first encounter with Him.

On March 15th, 1940, I left Bologna for San Giovanni Rotondo.
In our group, led by Signor Tonino Tonelli, were also two of my sisters, Gabriella and Anna. We reached San Giovanni Rotondo the next day, and found lodgings at Signorina Clorinda’s in the old part of the city.
I found myself a bit lost in that windy town, so very different from mine.
The whole group at four in the morning was awakened by Signorina Clorinda. We had to walk about two kilometres to attend Padre Pio’s Holy Mass in the little chapel of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
I was anxious to see close up the great and mysterious Padre Pio. The figure of the Padre that I had admired in photographs, appeared familiar.
Padre Pio, whom I was observing for the first time while attending Holy Mass, captured completely my boyish attention.
The penetrating and sweet eyes of Padre gave rise to a filial love in the depths of my heart.
The people whom I had met at the boarding house and in the church had described Padre Pio to me as being very severe.
When my turn for confession arrived, I began to be afraid. I felt attracted by the love of the heart of Padre Pio, but I was afraid of not deserving to be received as a son of the Holy Friar, whom I had always loved.
In the old sacristy of the convent, while I was waiting and preparing myself for confession, my interest in history and art distracted me. Instead of reflecting on, and repenting my sins, I was observing the similarity between that sacristy and the interior of old Russian convents that I had admired in a book. Suddenly I was invited by Signor Tonelli to approach the confessional of Padre Pio. Completely taken up by the desire to come close to the Padre, I had forgotten that I was in the presence of the Priest to whom I should have to confess my sins!
Padre Pio asked me some questions, then he looked at me, waiting for a response. Confused, I told him: “I don’t remember well if I have committed this sin.”
Forcefully he replied, “Go away! Go away! What do you want from me? Prepare yourself well for confession! I have no time to waste”. The next day, after deeper and more intense preparation, I returned to the confessional. Contrary to my expectation, I found in Padre a limitless sweetness that made me forget about the scolding of the previous day.
Padre Pio said to me: ”Yes, I accept you as my spiritual son…and you must always behave well.” He did not ask me any questions, either about my studies or about the town from which I came.
I returned to Bologna happy to have finally met the “Prophet”.
I resumed my studies at the “Istituto Aldini-Valeriani”. I did not like that kind of studies, but I had not confided my pain to anyone. I studied very little and, deep inside me, I was thinking of dropping out of the school. My spiritual life was much full. I did my merciful duties with love. I received Holy Communion often, but I prayed with little fervour to Jesus-Host. At the age of eleven, I had heard a gentlemen, whom I held in great esteem, say: ”I have never believed that a piece of bread could transform itself during the Consecration into the Body and Blood of Christ.” I did not realise it, but now I am certain that those same words returned in my thoughts each time that I received Jesus in the Host.
On the fifth of May 1940, while I was in Bologna, I received a very important letter that revealed to me a great gift from Padre Pio. From San Giovanni Rotondo he had been able to read the innermost secrets of my heart: my intentions to abandon my studies and the little fervour I had in praying to Jesus-Host, a fact which only God knew.
During the three days of my stay in San Giovanni Rotondo at Clorinda’s house, my sisters and I had met a Signorina, Olimpia Cristallini from Perugia, who also was a guest at the boarding house.
Upon leaving for Bologna, we had left our address with Signorina Olimpia to whom, however, I had not told anything about myself.
With great surprise, I received a letter from her dated May 3rd, 1940. I quote its essential points:
“My Good Luigi,
I have wanted to write to you for a long time… but now I can no longer postpone writing to express the Padre’s desire…this much I am compelled to do through obedience, because as his spiritual daughter I cannot deny him anything, even if it should mean sacrificing my life.
Some days ago he entrusted me to tell you on his behalf that he would like Luigi from Bologna to study more diligently, because in his prayers he sees that you are not studying, so much so that you will not be promoted to the next grade, if he does not tell you about it. He told me this in a gentle way. It seemed as if those gentle words wanted to express the pain that his heart suffers, because of this negligence on your part.
It hurt me more than I could express. However, he told me that he is pleased with your behavior insofar as it relates to church matters, and you must persevere, but with a little more fervour in praying to Jesus in the Host when you receive him.
My dear Luigi, you are fortunate that Padre advises you about what Jesus wants from you. Poor Padre! How much he suffers when his spiritual children do not keep the promises they made to him. He is responsible for it in the presence of God’s Majesty. But we don’t do this, do we? But I am certain beyond any doubt that my dear Luigi, who has such a good heart, does not want our dear Padre, our victim, to suffer on account of our not passing an exam in school. He sees your future and has already established your position.
I beg of you, my dear, make sure that, on reading this letter, the Padre may no longer have to see what his son Luigi does here that causes his soul to suffer and causes his wounds to bleed so much…let each one of you put forth a strong , a very strong, willingness to do what our Holy Padre expressly desires.
Let us together try to console his saddened heart, because his heart is the very Heart of Jesus.
Hoping for the best…
The Holy Benediction of Padre to all.
Your sister in Jesus
Olimpia Pia Cristallini”
The prayers of the Padre and his words encouraging me to study helped me decide not to leave the Technical Institute.
At the beginning of the academic year 1942-43, I was attending the fifth year at the “Istituto Aldini”; I needed only three years to obtain my diploma.
One day, in October 1942, the Institute’s teacher of literature, Dr. Lia Ceneri, said to me: “How is it that you, Gaspari, did not choose a school of classical studies?”. I answered that would have been my preference, but that I had to resign myself to obtaining a diploma from a technical school.

The good and generous teacher said to me: ”I am sure that you will be able to pass the exam to go on to the Liceo Scientifico. During this school year I will give you private lessons in Latin…”.