Karol Józef Wojtyła was born in Wadowice, Poland, on May 18th, 1920, and died in Vatican City on April 2nd, 2005. Elected Pope on October 16th, 1978, he took the name of John Paul II. He was canonized on April 27th, 2014.
Saint John Paul II wanted to impress the world with a deep Marian wake. He loved Mary ardently. From Her and with Her, he learned and gave us an example of intimacy and a completely unique relationship with God, and of strength for his mission to the end, beyond all measure, to the point of exhaustion.
On his papal coat of arms there is a large “M” that symbolizes the Virgin. His apostolic motto was “Totus tuus”, “All yours”, a sign of his personal consecration to the Virgin Mary.
May 13th, 1981, marked the 64th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady in Cova de Iría. That same day, while Saint John Paul II was traveling through Saint Peter’s Square in the popemobile, the Turkish Ali Agca shot at the Pope, who fell seriously wounded. This attack did not end his life because a “maternal hand” intervened, diverting the trajectory of the murderous bullet.
While Saint John Paul II was recovering in the hospital, he asked for all the documentation on the Virgin of Fatima. One year after the attack, John Paul II traveled to Fatima for the first time to “thank Our Lady for her intervention in saving my life and restoring my health.” On the tenth anniversary of the attack, on May 13th, 1991, he made her second trip to Fatima and once again thanked Our Lady for her maternal mediation. John Paul II went to Fatima for the third time to beatify the little shepherds, Francisco and Jacinta Marto in 2000. There he ordered to reveal the third part of the secret referring to a “bishop dressed in white”, which took place on June 20th, same year.
John Paul II entrusted the world to the protection of the Virgin on multiple occasions. Several of them in a very solemn way: The first was in Santa María la Mayor, in Rome on June 7th, 1981. A year later, it was in the sanctuary of Fátima, in Portugal. The third time was in 1984, in St. Peter’s Square, where the Pontiff consecrated all men and peoples, including Russia, to Mary Most Holy in spiritual union with the bishops of the world. Sister Lucia, a seer of Fatima, confirmed that this consecration “had been done just as Our Lady had requested.”
A great demonstration of his great devotion to the Virgin was the encyclical Redemptoris Mater, written in 1987. The apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, dedicated to the Holy Rosary, was one of his last texts. The Pope added a set of five mysteries which are the “Luminous Mysteries.” A week after being elected Pope, he exclaimed: «The Rosary is my favourite prayer. Wonderful prayer in its simplicity and depth. It was frequent to see him pray the Holy Rosary devoutly, in the midst of his innumerable and important activities.
The image of Our Lady of Fatima visited St. Peter’s Square again on October 8th, 2000, when St. John Paul II, in the presence of bishops from around the world, entrusted the new millennium to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.