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Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

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Thousands of John Paul II’s belongings on display in Rome

2010-03-30

John Paul II’s Center for Documentation and Research in Rome has nearly 70 thousand of John Paul II’s belongings, from gifts, to letters, manuscripts and books.

Since1981, the center has been collecting all the gifts John Paul II would receive and all published reports on the pope.

Antoni Pyznar
Director, John Paul II Center for Documentation and Research

“This house was built with the money donated by Poles who lived outside the country. They decide to call it, John Paul II’s home. And they decided to give it to the late pontiff as a gift.”

Antoni Pyznar is a Polish priest. He says John Paul II made it a point to see all his gifts, read every letter, especially those signed by kids. The pontiff would then initial the gifts.

Among the most prized processions for visitors are those that date back to World War II, like this Christ figure. An Italian soldier who was a prisoner at a Polish concentration camp, made it using clay. The soldier gave the figure to the pope years later.

Antoni Pyznar
Director, John Paul II Center for Documentation and Research

“There are some things held in concentration camps, like a rosary made with breadcrumbs and the objects that were exhumed from mass graves in Katin.”

There are also these pieces of linen with written messages from soldiers who were held at Gross-Rosen, a Polish concentration camp.

Meanwhile the library includes more than 30,000 volumes of documents written by John Paul II, some date back to the time he was a bishop and are being used for his cause for beatification. Plus, 35 books collect the messages the pope received after his tragic death.

So through vestments, cufflinks, his crucifix and rings  one can see a small part of the life of John Paul II. A one of a kind opportunity to remember the life of a historic figure 5 years after his death.

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