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Rome Reports

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Blood-stained shirt worn by John Paul II on the day he was attacked is preserved in Rome


This house run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Rome is a refuge for single mothers, migrants, and the poor seeking assistance.

But it has also become a pilgrimage site because of this:

The undershirt worn by John Paul II on the day he was shot in St. Peter's Square in1981.

SISTER MARIA ROSARIO
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul

"You can still see the Pope's blood stains on the relic, and you can make out three distinct holes. They are the holes caused by bullets. Not because there were three bullets, but since the shirt was folded over itself because of how he was standing."

These religious sisters tell us how this relic ended up here, less than two miles from the Vatican.  

It all began with this woman: Anna Stanghellini, the nurse who kept the relic in her closet for years.

SISTER MARIA ROSARIO
Daughters of Charityof St. Vincent de Paul

“In the operating room they cut his shirt into two pieces and threw it on the floor because they had to operate on the Pope. When they finished, she realized that the shirt was still there and would probably end up in the garbage. So she decided to pick it up.”

The nurse later gave the shirt to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, a community she felt very close to.

Since then, pilgrims have been coming here to pray, asking St. John Paul II for favors or to thank him for his help. They have many touching stories of the saint's intercession.

SISTER MARIA ROSARIO
Daughters of Charity St. Vincent de Paul

"A woman told me that she wanted to have a child but she couldn't have one. And she came here to pray almost every day. Finally she became pregnant, but the doctors told her that she and her child were in great danger. She and her husband asked John Paul II for a miracle. In the end the child was born and is in good health. So is she. They named him John Paul.”

Because of Anna Stanghellini's profound intuition, one of the most important relics of John Paul II remains preserved today. 

It is the surviving relic that has had the most direct contact with the saint's body, to the point of being stained with his blood.

Javier Romero

TR: Justin McLellan