July 8, 2011. (Romereports.com)
In this church of Rome's Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul a special new relic is on display. It's the shirt that John Paul II wore the day he was shot in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981.
Sister Beatrice Priori
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
“This shirt is important both for what we can see with our eyes and that which isn't visible. It speaks of the great suffering of the pope, what he suffered during the attack but also the suffering that followed him the rest of his life.”
The day of the attack, doctors cut off the shirt to perform emergency surgery and left it in a corner of the operating room. The head nurse of the Policlinico Gemelli, Anna Stanghellini, recovered the shirt, keeping it a secret for years.
After retiring, she moved into the house of the Sisters of Charity. In March of 2000 she confessed her secret to Sister Beatrice Priori who couldn't believe what she was hearing. Sister Beatrice Priori
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul“I was perplexed, thoughtful, and quite frankly I didn't know what to do. Thinking and rethinking, I realized that this was something important and should be preserved from being damaged or ruined. Along with another sister, we decided to preserve it as it is now.”
After the death of John Paul II, the sister decided to take the shirt to the Vatican for verification. Along with it, she brought a letter from the nurse explaining what happened as well as an older letter she had written when she first discovered the shirt. A month later, after being verified, it was back in the hands of the Sisters of Charity.Sister Beatrice Priori
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul“This shirt speaks of John Paul II's ability to forgive, his ability to love others. He forgave the man that tried to kill him, giving him his hand. Behind this shirt is a powerful hand that deflected the bullet. Doctors say if it had entered two millimeters to the left or two to the right, he never would have made it to the Gemelli Hospital. The hand behind this was the Virgin Mary's.”
The religious community has guarded the shirt in a room with other objects of symbolic value. Now, after the beatification of John Paul II, it's on display in their church for everyone to see.