Family Home of John Paul II

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I was born in Wadowice


Exactly one hundred years ago, on May 18, 1920, Karol Józef Wojtyła, future pope and saint of the Catholic Church, was born in Wadowice. Could his parents, looking at their son with joy and concern, ever have expected this to be his fate? The newly liberated Poland awaited another armed confrontation, this time with the Bolsheviks. This small family had been waiting for another child for so long, even suffering the drama of a newborn daughter’s death. The first environment of the warm family home was gradually extending to include new small worlds: the neighborhood of the house, the parish of Wadowice, the primary school, the Carmelite church, the gymnastics club „Sokół” and the amateur theater. A creative and good daily life in which people have always been the most important element.

During the party after graduation from the secondary school in 1938, Karol Wojtyła wrote a poem in the diary of his theater friend Danuta Pukło. In this youthful poem he writes that in life, bright days alternate with dark ones. Many years later, by providential coincidence he wrote similar words in his papal speech which he gave on May 13, 1981.

How did this little boy become the most important man in the Catholic Church and then was proclaimed a saint? John Paul II himself, expressing his gratitude to the inhabitants of Wadowice and his homeland, said: „The questions of the human heart, of human youth, must first of all be left to God who guides man in various ways, acts in him and in different places, he calls him at different moments of his life”.

The mystery of man’s destiny and his vocation in this case has borne abundant fruit. One of the longest pontificates in history was marked by many surprising and innovative events. The volumes of papal speeches, but also the pages of Karol Wojtyła’s philosophical and theological reflections are a treasure yet to be discovered and a difficult challenge for researchers. Especially for the Poles, his presence in the Vatican became a kind of obviousness. How was it possible to imagine someone else sitting on Peter’s throne? However, on April 2, 2005, the shouts „Holy now!” in St. Peter’s Square reminded us that He was no longer there. We just had to get used to the new way of his presence. Perhaps more challenging, but much closer. Nine years after his death, the Church officially confirmed what so many faithful had known for some time: John Paul II is at the Father’s House.

The centenary of his birth is an opportunity for us to express our gratitude together for the gift of his life and holiness. And although gratitude can be shared, each of us probably has our own personal reasons.

We have been preparing for this celebration for four years. Part of our plans have been thwarted by the situation. But isn’t this what John Paul II also taught us, that man must not be a slave of the destiny written by history, but he creates his own life himself? For the love we feel for St. John Paul II and for the responsibility for his House, we try to do everything so that you can become guests of the place where „it all began”, especially in this exceptional moment.

Thanks for being with us. We invite you to continue celebrating with us, and now to visit the family home of the Holy Father John Paul II.