Secret studies

Karol Wojtyła was born in Wadowice, a town in southern Poland, on May 18, 1920. His sister, Olga, died in infancy before Karol was born. His mother died when he was nine years old. His brother Edmund died just three years later.

The Nazi occupation of Poland in 1939 forced Wojtyła to study for the priesthood in secret and he also organised a clandestine theatre group. His father died suddenly in 1941, leaving him with no close family members.

After the war he continued his studies at Kraków’s Jagiellonian University until he was ordained in 1946.

On July 4, 1958, Wojtyła was named auxiliary bishop of Kraków by Pope Pius XII. The young bishop was an influential figure at the Second Vatican Council.

On January 13, 1964, he was nominated Archbishop of Kraków by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal on June 26, 1967.

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