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Pope Francis

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John Paul II’s former barber says he was cured miraculously


When Gianni worked at a barber shop near the Vatican back in the 70’s, he would talk about everything and anything with Karol Wojtyla would stop by for a hair cut.

Gianni Vecchio

“On one occassion I told him, ‘Father, you need to know that I’m a communist.’ He then told me: ‘That’s okay, don’t worry. You seem like a good person.’ He had a good memory. When he would walk in he would always say, ‘How’s my communist doing?’ But we also talked about my family and my daughters.”

That’s how their friendship was born, without Gianni knowing that this priest, was a cardinal and one of the most likely candidates to become Pope someday.

After the death of John Paul I, Gianni was at St. Peter’s Square during the announcement of the new pope. From the balcony above the basilica he heard a voice that sounded like one of his clients.

Gianni Vecchio

“When I saw him on the balcony, I yelled ‘I know him, I cut his hair!’ I ran home and I told my wife, ‘They elected the priest whom I give haircuts to, to be the pope. It was a very exciting day for me.”

During the following 27 years, Gianni would have several run’ins with the pope. The friendship continued to grow stronger after John Paul II’s death.

Gianni suffered from back problems. Doctors diagnosed him with a disc herniation a very painful condition that affects nervous system. While Gianni was already prepped for surgery, he never ended up on the operating table. He calls it a miracle his friend John Paul II.

Gianni Vecchio

“When I walked into the hospital I saw a picture of John Paul II and Mother Teresa. I was waiting to be prepped for surgery the next day and teh doctors decided to run more tests and give me another MRI. For months I suffered very severe pains. When I received the results, comparing the two MRI’s, the hernia was gone. "

Gianni and the doctors couldn’t believe the hernia had disappeared. Gianni says from that moment forward he would no longer suffer from back pain. He says he felt like new.

Gianni Vecchio

“The doctors told me they didn’t know how that was possible and that I was fine. And I still feel great.”

Gianni says he hasn’t felt any pain related to the hernia. He considers his relief a miracle from his friend Karol Wojtyla. That’s why he decided to publish his ‘miracle’ on the website dedicated to John Paul II’s beatification process.

Gianni Vecchio

“About a month ago, I got a call from Vatican Radio, they wanted me to share this story. I have all the documents, all the medical charts. Everything. I know that when they ask for it, they will get a hold of me and I’ll be ready to give my testimony in order to form a commission to investigate my case.”

The friendship between Karol Wojtyla, the future John Paul II and Gianni Vecchio a communist barber in Rome may have started with a casual hair cut but it changed Gianni’s life forever.