On Sunday 1st May 2011 the Venerable Karol Wojtyła – better known as Pope John Paul II – was beatified in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
In various ways Carmelites too can celebrate his life and sanctity as a member of the ‘wider Carmelite Family’. From a young age Karol Wojtyła wore the Carmelite Brown Scapular which amongst other things symbolises identification with Carmel’s values.
As a seminarian he considered joining the Discalced Carmelite Friars. As a doctoral student he wrote his Ph.D. thesis on St. John of the Cross. As priest and bishop he encouraged devotion to Mary the Mother of God. As Pope he wrote letters to the Carmelite Family, ‘raised to the altars’ Carmelite laity and religious, and declared St. Thérèse of Lisieux a Doctor of the Church.
When undergoing surgery following an attempted assassination, it is said the Holy Father insisted on wearing his Carmelite scapular. In 2007 his scapular was given as a relic to a community of Carmelite friars in Italy.