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The nurse who was with John Paul II in the ambulance: He prayed the whole way

2016-05-13

Leonardo Porzia perfectly remembers what happened moments after Ali Agca twice squeezed the trigger of his gun in an attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II.

He was the nurse who was on duty at the outpatient clinic in the Vatican, where the wounded Pope was taken while panic reigned throughout St. Peter's.

LEONARDO PORZIA
Nurse
"The Holy Father was hunched over to the side, but conscious. He was holding on to his secretary. I picked him up in my arms ... He weighed, weighed a lot and I got blood on me. He leaned against my chest and I put him on the table. After the ambulance of the holy father arrived, we got there. The vehicle was filled with so many people that the siren of the ambulance broke down."

The nurse noted that during the trip the driver was honking his horn the whole time. To shorten the distance, he drove on the highway going in the opposite direction. He drove up onto the sidewalk to avoid accidents, while Leonardo was trying to stop the bleeding of the wounds.

LEONARDO PORZIA
Nurse
"We arrived at the operating room, I took off his clothes ... because you can not get in there dressed, so I had to undress him. In fact I covered him with a sheet, said goodbye to him and he thanked me. Since he did not lose consciousness in the ambulance, he prayed. He prayed the whole way. The day before, when he came to visit the health clinic, he saw the ambulance and said I do not want this, huh? I will not use that."

Once he was cured, the Pope wanted to receive the people, and their families, who helped him survive. This photo is the best memory that Leonardo has of those days, but the best shots are stored in his memory.

In the Vatican, however, what remains of the attack is not an image but this tombstone that remembers that day: May 13, 1981.


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