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A portrait of Emilia Wojtyła who died in 1929 when Karol was 9. The photograph had its place in a living room in a flat in Wadowice and afterwards, together with other objects, it was transported to Tyniecka Street in Kraków, where Karol and his father moved after Karol’s final school examinations. The portrait of his mother accompanied Karol until he entered a seminary.

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A portrait of Emilia Wojtyła who died in 1929 when Karol was 9. The photograph had its place in a living room in a flat in Wadowice and afterwards, together with other objects, it was transported to Tyniecka Street in Kraków, where Karol and his father moved after Karol’s final school examinations. The portrait of his mother accompanied Karol until he entered a seminary.
Photographs of loved ones were also special because they were traces of the family tragedies (the passing away of his mother, then brother and father). Death, which Karol Wojtyła had to face very early, turned his loved ones into portraits in sepia colours.

Among Wojtyła’s adolescent poems there is one dedicated to his mother:

“Over this, your white grave

The flowers of life in white —

So many years without you —

How many have passed out of sight?

Over this your white grave

Covered for years, there is a stir

In the air, something uplifting

And, like death, beyond comprehension.

Over this your white grave,

Oh Mother, can such loving cease,

For all his filial adoration

A prayer:

Give her eternal peace -

[Kraków, spring 1939]″[1]

Elaborated by the editorial team of Małopolska's Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.


[1] K. Wojtyła, Poezje, dramaty, szkice, Krakow 2004, p. 529; translation provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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The Pope’s different faces

Andrzej Jawień, A.J., Stanisław Andrzej Gruda, Piotr Jasień – what do these names have to do with Karol Wojtyła? Karol was a young priest, but also a poet and a playwright. He wrote often, but kept his writings in a drawer and published them rarely under the selected pseudonyms.

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Andrzej Jawień, A.J., Stanisław Andrzej Gruda, Piotr Jasień – what do these names have to do with Karol Wojtyła? Karol was a young priest, but also a poet and a playwright. He wrote often, but kept his writings in a drawer and published them rarely under the selected pseudonyms.
Marek Skwarnicki wrote initially in the preface to Poezje, dramaty i szkice [Poems, Dramas and Literary Sketches] (Kraków 2004) that the novel Niebo w płomieniach [Sky on Fire], written by Jan Parandowski, with Jawień as the main character, was the source of his first assumed name.
Later it was discovered that Jawień was the family name of one of the parishioners of Niegowić, where Karol Wojtyła performed pastoral ministry as a vicar after his ordination.
Stanisław Andrzej Gruda appeared in Karol Wojtyła’s cardinal period when he handed over a manuscript of Promienowanie ojcostwa [The Radiation of Fatherhood] to the Znak Publishing House.

After he was elected pope, his writings appeared in print and were translated into numerous languages; however, he himself remained silent as a poet for the next twenty four years. In 2003 he finally published Tryptyk rzymski [Roman Triptych, Meditations].

Elaborated by Anna Berestecka (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

See also:
Diary with notes by Karol Wojtyła

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Photograph “Portrait of Emilia Wojtyła”

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