The first PAPA DUKE ever heard of Padre Pio was when an Italian janitor in his apartment building asked him to paint a portrait of the monk from San Giovanni Rotondo.
The janitor was very ill and about to enter hospital for life-or-death surgery. He wanted to pray to an icon of Padre Pio, who was later (in 2002) canonized a saint.
Papa Duke asked the janitor for photographs, and obliged him with a painting. The janitor prayed to it and miraculously recovered.
Papa Duke could not shake the image of Padre Pio from his mind. Like a man possessed, he continued to paint dozens of portraits of Padre Pio. He gave them to friends with terminal illnesses and watched in amazement as they recovered.