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Rome Reports

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Even today, legacy of assassination attempt on John Paul II lives on

On May 13, 1981, this moment became an unforgettable piece of history. 

It's been more than 40 years, but for some it still feels like yesterday, as was the case in 2016 for this nurse who treated the wounded Pope John Paul II.

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 a lot and I got blood on me. He was leaning against my chest and I put him on the table. We got there after the holy father's ambulance arrived. The ambulance was filled with so many people that its siren broke down.

And this is how Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re remembers it, then the Vatican Secretary of State.

They called us and said: someone has shot the Pope. 

For us, it was a deep shock. It was unthinkable that someone shot at the Pope.

For the Pope, surviving the attack was more than a matter of luck. He said it was a miracle, and attributed his recovery to Our Lady of Fatima, and went on pilgrimmage there just one year later.

His devotion to Fatima grew so strong as a result, that the Polish pope consecrated all individuals and peoples to her immaculate heart, as she had asked the three children she appeared to in Portugal in 1917.

This act of consecration did not go unnoticed by the following popes, including Pope Francis, who have repeated the gesture during particular difficult moments, such as during the current war in Ukraine.