Saint John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. He was the youngest of two sons. His mother died when he was only 9. He enrolled in Cracow’s Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama. The Nazi occupation of Poland forced the closure of the university and young Karol had to work in a quarry and then in a chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany. He was ordained in 1946, became the bishop of Ombi in 1958, and became the archbishop of Krakow in 1964. He was made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1967, and in 1978 became the first non-Italian pope in more than 400 years. His apostolic motto was Totus Tuus a latin phrase meaning “totally thine” which expressed his total consecration to Jesus through His mother Mary. He gave her credit for sparing his life in an assignation attempt on the feast of our lady of Fatima, May 13, 1981. The recovered bullet shot at close range by a professional assassin is now encased in the crown of our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. He visited the jail cell of his would be assassin, and forgave him. Pope John Paul ll gave us the Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, and was a great proponent of Divine Mercy. He initiated World Youth Day, which has been attended by millions of youth in countries around the World. He has written numerous books, plays, poems, encyclicals and apostolic letters. FORMED.ORG has movies about his life; one well acted, Pope John Paul ll and a documentary John Paul II.
“The Gospel of life must be proclaimed and human life defended in all places and all times.” – Pope John Paul ll