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(LifeSiteNews) — If not for one man’s encounter with St. Padre Pio, a burgeoning pro-life apostolate might have never come to fruition.

Dr. Pat Castle, founder of the LIFE Runners apostolate, is my guest on today’s episode of The John-Henry Westen Show. He tells the incredible story of how his miraculous run up a mountain — with Padre Pio, no less — led to the creation of LIFE Runners.

In 2006, Castle was running a half marathon up a 14,000-foot mountain, aiming to finish with a time of no more than three hours. He narrates the story in terms of the prayers he offered up to God, and he remembers a loud, clear voice telling him how far he was from the top of the mountain.

“So my third prayer was a surrender prayer: ‘Lord, I surrender this desire of my heart to you and your glory. If you do not want me to break three hours racing up [the mountain], this little, small desire in my heart, no problem. May you be glorified,” he recounts.

READ: LIFE Runners spread pro-life message to thousands in first post-Roe marathon gathering

“But I pause … and I said, ‘But, Lord, you know I’m going to do whatever you need me to, if you need me to break three hours.’ So I looked at my watch. My watch said 2:55. This person behind me on cue: ‘We are five minutes from the top. We are going to break three hours.’ Just like that,” he continues. “It was odd. I didn’t see the person. It was as if the person was standing right next to me. It was peculiar. It was mystical. It was mysterious. It felt like, otherworldly.”

Another “otherworldly” incident involved Castle running right over a boulder field during the final stretch of the race — something he has “zero” memory of.

“[An] eyewitness account said I was the only person they saw run over a boulder field,” he says. “So imagine someone racing over boulders. Everyone else kind of hiked over it because it was treacherous. So I ran over the boulder field. My first memory is seeing the finish line, and the finish line clocks are 2:59:49, and then I came across the finish in 2:59:51.”

READ: Blind woman and American mile record-holder run for the unborn, embody faith and humility

But how did Castle come to know it was Padre Pio who was speaking to him on the mountain?

I’m sitting there on a rock minutes after the finish … and I ask someone to borrow their phone to call my mom. How pro-life is that? Let your mom know you’re okay. She said, “Patrick, please tell me when you know that you’re okay.” You know, moms know their sons and daughters. So I called my mom. [She said,] “Patrick, before you tell me anything, I need to share something with you.” I’m like, “Okay, why?”

[She asked,] “Did anything unusual happen at 2 hours and 50 minutes into the race?” And I said, “Yes. Why?” She said, “Okay, at 2 hours and 15 minutes into the race, I sensed that you were in trouble, something was wrong. And I asked my friend St. Padre Pio to finish the race with you.”

For much more from Dr. Pat Castle, tune in to today’s episode of The John-Henry Westen Show. Click here to check out the LIFE Runners website for more information on how you can get involved in their pro-life apostolate.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.