Pope Saint John Paul II - Divine Mercy ready to Fram print.
This image was painted the year Pope John Paul was canonized. The symbols in the icon are images close to his heart, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Divine Mercy, The Rosary, His Coat of Arms. The original icon hangs at St. Peter & St. Paul Catholic Church in Alta Loma California. The original icon hold a relic of St. John Paul.
Born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland, the future pope was an athletic youth and very active in the Church. At the age of eighteen, he moved to Krakow to attend Jagiellonian University, where he became deeply involved in theater and proved to have a great talent for learning languages. However, in 1939 Germany and the USSR invaded Poland and the university was closed. Over the next few years, he worked as a dishwasher, in a chemical factory, and in a limestone quarry, where he was injured in a work accident in which he was hit by a truck. When not working, he found time to follow his theatrical interests in secret (Polish cultural activities were banned by the Nazis) and he began to discern a vocation to the priesthood. Although he refused to take up arms in underground work, he did work to shelter several Jewish refugees, including saving the life of a fourteen year old Jewish girl who had escaped from a Nazi labor camp.
In the fall of 1942, he began to study for the priesthood in secret and he was ordained on All Saints Day in 1946. As a young priest, working in communist-occupied Poland, Wojtyla had a special ministry towards young people and young married couples, forming prayer groups with young people and taking them on hiking expeditions. It was while he was on a kayaking trip with one of these groups that he received news in 1958 that he was to be made a bishop. Four years later, as a young 42-year-old bishop, he attended the Second Vatican Council where he contributed to two of its most important documents: Dignitatis humanae and Gaudium et spes.
Pope Paul VI appointed him a cardinal in 1967. Cardinal Wojtyla was a key contributor to the writing of Humanae Vitae, the papal encyclial which reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on abortion and artificial contraception. In his native Poland, he was active in teaching the church about the encyclical and the Church’s understanding of human sexuality.
After the death of Pope Paul VI and just a few months later of his successor, Pope John Paul I, Wojtyla was elected pope in 1978 and took the name John Paul II. As pope he was known for his teaching on the Theology of the Body, for his travels around the world, for his connection with young people, particularly at World Youth Day events, and for his contributions to the defeat of communism. His 27 year papacy was perhaps the most influential of the 20th century.
A movement for his canonization began almost immediately after his death in 2005. John Paul II was beatified in 2011 and canonized a saint in 2014 by Pope Francis. His feast day is on October 22nd.