A Polish lady by the name of Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka has unveiled a hoard of letters and photos she had received from Pope John Paul II since their first meeting in 1973. An archive of letters that were sold to the National Library of Poland in 2008 have also resurfaced, bringing the Pope's risky personal relationship with Anna into the spotlight.
Another side to Pope John Paul II
It is believed the letters and photos span the 35 year relationship between the two, with photos of the Pope that revel in his time away from the cloth, some of the photos include:
- The Pope wearing shorts whilst on a camping trip beside a lake.
- John Paul II equipped in skis as he enjoys time on the snow.
- Pope John Paul in his exquisite residence whilst relaxing and entertaining informally.
When the Pope met Anna
In 1973 the Pope, who was then the Archbishop of Krakow began a relationship with Anna, which, to a degree, was common knowledge at the time.
However, it has now come to light that the pair had entwined in a deeper, more meaningful friendship and for a greater degree of time than anyone had previously known or believed. Anna eventually went on to become a philosopher in the United States, but during her time with John Paul II they collaborated together on an English language version of a philosophy book written by John Paul when he tutored at Lublin University.
Catholic in a Communist Regime
The relationship between the Pope and Anna is said to have been a dangerous affair. Throughout the 70's in Poland, the communists had a tough grip and the Catholic church was seen to be an enemy by them. This meant the SB kept close tabs on any clergyman and other leaders of the Catholic faith – especially John Paul, then known as Cardinal Wojtyla. It is said that every letter sent was checked and his phone and home were bugged in order for the SB to gain intelligence on the Popes activities.
Meaningful and personal letters to the Pope
John Paul spent over a month in Rome during late 1974 whilst attending a Catholic Bishops meeting.
In this time it is believed he took several letters from Anna in order to reply whilst away from Krakow and the prying eyes of the SB. It is in these replies that he declares to Anna that, despite the letters being formed in a philosophical manner, they remain meaningful and deeply personal to him.
Anne -- a gift from God
During the summer of 1976, John Paul visited the U.S. for a Catholic gathering, during his stay he spent time with Anna, who had moved there to pursue her career. It is believed that during that time Anna explained her feelings for John Paul in more depth than previously. This, in turn, led him to write her after his departure to exclaim he did not understand their relationship in terms of Christianity and that she was 'A gift from God.'
The Pope, The Vatican, and Sir John's death bed
Even after John Paul was made Pope he made it clear to Anna that their relationship must continue and not be hindered – which it did. In 1990 the Pope was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and through time he deteriorated to the point where he was restricted within the Vatican.