Little Known Facts About John Paul II – EpicPew

Little Known Facts About John Paul II

Happy Birthday, John Paul II!!


Today we celebrate the Birthday of one of the 21st century’s most beloved saints, Pope St. John Paul the Great. In honor of his birthday we wanted to share some lesser known facts abut his life. How many of these do you already know?



His Father Was a Non-Commissioned Army Officer and a Tailor

Karol Wojtyla, Sr. and Karol Jr. were very close. Karol Sr.’s skills as a tailor came in handy when Karol Jr. was asked to give the commencement speech at his graduation from school with the Cardinal present. His father tailored an old army jacket to fit him for the occasion!



He Had an Older Sister Named Olga

Karol Wojtyla never met his sister. She died as an infant before he was born. He was known to speak of her even after he became Pope. Even though he never met her, he always considered her part of his family and referred to her as “my older sister.”

Edmund Wojtyla


His Older Brother Was Nicknamed Mundek

Edmund Wojtyla was 13 years older than Karol. He died of Scarlet fever while serving as a doctor.  Despite the age difference, Karol and Edmund were close. They enjoyed playing soccer together and Edmund’s death greatly affected the young Karol.


Karol’s Nickname was Lolek

John Paul II had two significant nicknames in his life. His first, Lolek, was given to him by his parents and friends. Later, he was called “Wujek” (which means “Uncle”) by university students whom he took on excursions, hikes and camping trips.



He Wrote a Poem for His Mother

Karol’s mother, Emilia, died before he was 10 years old. She passed away from heart and kidney problems. (She did not die in childbirth as some websites mistakenly report). Her death changed Karol’s life forever. In 1939, ten years after her death, when Karol was a young man, he wrote a poem titled “Over This Your White Grave” to honor her. His poetry went on to be published.



He Originally Thought He Would Be An Actor

Karol was a talented actor and participated in the Rhapsodic Theatre during the War years. He at one time considered pursuing a future on the stage!

altar boys
Karol is seated next to the priest on the left.

He Was Serving Mass When the First Bombing of Poland of World War II Commenced

He ran home from the Church to be with his father. The War had reached Poland.



He Loved The Outdoors

An outdoors-man his whole life, he took university students camping and often spoke to them about love, relationships and human sexuality. He later said that these trips began to plant the seeds of what we now know as the “Theology of the Body.”




He Has His Very Own Musical

Karol: The Musical debuted in Poland earlier in 2017!

Curtain Call of Karol: The Musical


I guess you could say he made it to the stage after all!



Pope Cake Is a “Thing”

It’s actually called kremówka papieska and if you want the recipe (from where this delicious looking picture is taken) you can GO HERE.  Apparently young Karol would stop at a bakery after school quite often for a bite of this yummy treat. It has since been named for him and would be (in my opinion) the perfect dessert for his birthday!

Happy Birthday, Papa! John Paul II, we love you!