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John Paul’s personal notes in book form

ROME (Agencies): Pope John Paul II asked his trusted personal secretary, now Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, to burn his personal notes after his death, but the dedicated secretary recognised a vast historical importance in the late pontiff’s personal scribbling and did just the opposite, the Vatican Information Service reported on January 18

In his will, to which alterations were made on a number of occasions throughout the course of reflection days after he came to live in the Vatican, Pope John Paul asked those who could be considered to be his heirs to burn his personal notes when he died.

Specifically, he addressed this request to his trusted personal secretary, then-Father Dziwisz. “I ask that Father Stanisław see to this and I thank him for his help and collaboration, so understanding for so many years,” the late pope notated.

However, shortly after the Polish pope’s funeral in 2005, the future archbishop of Kraków was asked why he did not acquiesce to his former boss’ wish. His response was that the notes were of historical importance. 

Now the Kraków archdiocese has announced that the notes will be published in book form on February 5, in a collection entitled, I am in God’s hands: Personal notes 1962-2003.

The Polish publishing house, Znak, says the book contains “the most important personal, innermost questions and moving reflections and prayers that marked his everyday life.”

It says that this includes the notes that show his concern for those dear to him—friends and collaborators—and for the Church that was entrusted to him.

The Polish Catholic news agency, KAI, adds, “Now they become the key document in John Paul II’s canonisation process.”


KAI quotes Cardinal Dziwisz as saying, “I didn’t burn John Paul II’s notes because they are the key to interpreting his spirituality, his innermost self: his relationship with God, others and himself.”

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