Holy Cross Abbey Gardens are located on the grounds of the Cistercian Abbey founded in 1169. They contain a set of Stations of the Cross erected in memory of St. Padre Pio, a Capuchin priest who bore the stigmata (physical wounds of Jesus Christ) for fifty years.
Padre Pio lived in San Giovanni Rotondo, in Italy. In 1918, he received the stigmata, which he described to his spiritual advisor as a vision where he saw a person with the stigmata, wounds dripping blood. After the vision disappeared, Padre Pio found himself with the same bleeding wounds, which he experienced nearly every day for the rest of his life, or nearly fifty years.
Padre Pio died on September 23, 1968, in his cell, surrounded by his brothers. The aroma of fragrant flowers filled the room when he died, just as it always had when the wounds appeared. More than 100,000 people attended his funeral.
In addition to daily masses, monthly devotional prayer services and Masses are held at Holy Cross Abbey, many of them outdoors in what are also referred to as the Padre Pio Gardens.
Identical Stations of the Cross to those donated in his memory at Holy Cross Abbey can also be found at the Vatican; they were given to Pope John Paul II when he visited Ireland in 1979.