The Saint and the Lady Who Saved Him: John Paul II and Fatima


National Catholic Register, 6 May 2017

In 1982, the Marian shrine that St. John Paul II wanted to visit was the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, the Queen of Poland. Instead, he went to Fatima.

Being saved from death linked him more with Fatima than his Polish birth linked him with Czestochowa. In 1982, the shrine of the Black Madonna was marking its 600th anniversary. St. John Paul II dearly wanted to be present, but his 1979 visit to Poland for the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Stanislaus had so destabilized the communist regime that they would not permit the Holy Father to visit for an even more significant anniversary. (The visit would eventually be permitted in 1983.)

Growing up in Poland, Karol Wojtyla was aware of the Fatima apparitions and knew about their anti-communist dimension, as Our Lady spoke about the “conversion of Russia.” Yet it did not figure prominently in his piety.

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