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Rome Reports

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John Paul I's personal writings preserved in Vatican archive

These are John Paul I's personal notes.

Notes, reflections, letters and homily drafts written from his time as a seminarian until his death in Rome.

Vice president, John Paul I Vatican Foundation
“This is what we call a 'mirror archive,' in the sense that it is a reflection of the person who wrote it, and it tells us a lot about the life and work of Albino Luciani.”

Archivist, Vatican Apostolic Archives
“We also have a journal with notes from the Second Vatican Council and a notebook with his personal reflections on what it means to be a bishop.”

The documents are, above all, work notes. They show how he prepared homilies, which he continued to do even as Pope.

Vice president, John Paul I Vatican Foundation
“He doesn't use the journals to jot down his personal thoughts. It's not like with John XXIII, for example, who took down his ideas and created a diary of the soul. With John Paul I we find appointments and work notes. He rarely writes down his personal thoughts. He only recounts a few concrete episodes, like his encounter with John XXIII.”

As Pope, John Paul I was loved for his humility, which is brought out in some of his documents. For example, during the challenging sessions of the Second Vatican Council, he won the affection of many bishops because of his sense of humor.

Vice president, John Paul I Vatican Foundation
“We see that during the Council, among his notes are also fun notes that he would exchange with the bishops sitting close to him. As he said, it was like being at school.”

The John Paul I Vatican Foundation in Rome preserves and studies all these documents. Since March of 2021, the arduous task of organizing and digitizing the documents has been underway, to facilitate the work of future academics interested in researching Albino Luciani. There are a total of 64 files of documents written between 1929 and 1978.