Padre Pio led many people to conversion during his earthly life, and he continues to do so from his place in God’s eternal Kingdom. One of his most recent heavenly converts is actor Shia LaBeouf, who became Catholic after intensely studying St. Pio’s life, in preparation for his lead role in the soon-to-be-released movie about the stigmatist saint.
LaBeouf took the role to revive his floundering acting career, which has been negatively affected in recent years by scandals and allegations of abuse. In a recent interview with Bishop Robert Barron, he said that when he took the role he was an “agnostic” and on the verge of despair: “I had a gun on the table. I was outta here. I didn’t want to be alive anymore when all this happened. Shame like I had never experienced before—the kind of shame that you forget how to breathe. You don’t know where to go.”
As he got to know Padre Pio and learned about the saint’s powerful and effective ministry to sinners, LaBeouf found the hope he was desperately seeking, and was drawn to the Church and the sacraments. He said, “It was seeing other people who have sinned beyond anything I could ever conceptualize also being found in Christ that made me feel like, ‘Oh, that gives me hope.’ I started hearing experiences of other depraved people who had found their way in this, and it made me feel like I had permission.”
Our heartfelt prayers go out to Mr. LaBeouf, that he will persevere in his newfound commitment to Christ and the Catholic Faith, and we ask the Lord to give him the grace to be an effective witness to his peers in the entertainment industry, many of whom are presently as lost and as broken as he was.