Biography PrePontified

Taken from the Vatican website

the father: Karol Wojtyła

son of master tailor Maciej and Anna, born on 18 July 1879 in Lipnik near the city of Bielsko Biała. Tailor, from 1900 NCO in the Austrian army, then lieutenant in the Polish army, retired in 1927.

mother: Emilia Kaczorowska

daughter of the bastaio Feliks (carriage upholstery) and Maria Anna; born 26 March 1884.

the brother: Edmund

born on 27 August 1906 in Krakow; doctor, practices at the Powszechny Hospital in Bielsko.


18th May

Born in Wadowice (Kraków), Poland.

June 20th

He is baptized by the military chaplain, Fr. Franciszek Zak.
He lives with his parents in Wadowice, at the address Rynek 2 (today via Koscielna 7, extension 4).

September 15th
He started attending Elementary School, and then the Pro-Gymnasium “Marcin Wadowita”. Throughout the course of his studies he obtains excellent ratings.

13th April
The mother dies.

He is admitted to the Marcin Wadowita State Gymnasium.

December 5th
Brother Edmund dies.

June 14th
He finishes the 3rd Gymnasium.

First plays in the school theater in Wadowice. In the high school period he is president of the Marian Society. In the same years he made his first pilgrimage to Częstochowa.

Participate in the military training exercises in Hermanice.

14th December
Admitted to the Marian Society.

He receives the Sacrament of Confirmation.

14th May
High-school graduation.

June 22nd
Apply for admission to the Faculty of Philosophy (Polish Philology) of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.

With his father he moved to Krakow (10 Tyniecka Street).

Academic year 1938-39
While attending university courses, he enrolled in “Studio 38”, a theatre club founded by Tadeusz Kudliński.

February 6th
Join the University Students’ Association of the Jagiellonian University (Eucharistic and charitable section).

Social training camp of the University Legion in Ozomla, near Sadowa Wiszna, for Polish and Ukrainian students.

September 1st
World War II breaks out.

November 2nd
He enrolled in the second year of the course in Literature and Philosophy.

He knows Jan Tyranowski, tailor, a man of deep spirituality, trained at the Carmelite school. He introduced Wojtyla to the writings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. In this period the underground theatre directed by Tadeusz Kudliński began.

November 1st
Employed as a worker in the stone quarries in Zakrzówek near Krakow. Avoids deportation and forced labour in the Third Germanic Reich.

February 18th
The father dies.

He welcomed into his home the family of Mieczysław Kotlarczyk, founder of the theatre of the living word (Rapsodyczny).

1st November
First theatrical performance of Król Duch (Royal Spirit), by Juliusz Słowacki.

He’s being transferred from the quarry to the Solvay factory.

He began to attend clandestine courses at the Faculty of Theology of the Jagiellonian University as a Seminarian of the Archdiocese of Krakow.

Before “Samuel Zborowski” by Juliusz Słowacki. K. Wojtyła plays the lead role. It is his last appearance on the theatre scenes (clandestine; they took place in the houses of a group of friends).

Academic year 1943-44
Year of theological studies. He continues his work at Solvay.

29 February-12 March
He was hit by a car and hospitalized.

Archbishop Adam Stefan Sapieha moved him, together with other ‘clandestine’ seminarians, to the Archbishop’s Palace. He will remain there until the end of the war. He continues his studies. He breaks off contact with Solvay.

9th November

December 17th
He takes the first two minor orders.

January 18th
The Red Army liberates Krakow from the Nazis.

Academic Year 1944-1945
III year of theological studies in the Theological Faculty of the Jagiellonian University.

9th April
He was elected vice-president of the student organization “Bratnia Pomoc” (“Fraternal Relief”) of the Jagiellonian University. He remained there until May 1946.

Academic Year 1945-1946
Fourth year of theological studies.

December 12th
He takes the other two minor orders.

October 13th

October 20th

November 1st
He is ordained a priest. As on previous occasions, he receives holy orders from the hands of Metropolitan Archbishop Adam Sapieha in his private chapel.

2nd November
Celebrate the Holy Mass Novella in the Crypt of St. Leonard in Wavel.

15th November
He leaves to continue his studies in Rome.

November 26th
He’s joining the Angelicum.

15 November – end of December
He is staying with the Pallottines in Via Pettinari in Rome.

Last of December
With Don Starowieyski, he is staying at the Pontifical Belgian College in Via Quirinale 26.

July 3rd
He passes his licensing exam in theology.

With Don Starowieyski he travels to France, Belgium and Holland. Near Charle

June 14th
He’s taking his doctoral exam.

June 19th
He defends his thesis “Doctrina de fide apud S. Joannem de Cruce”.

Beginning of July
Back from Rome to Poland.

July 8th
He is assigned as assistant parish priest to the parish of Niegowić near Gdów.

December 16th
The Academic Senate of the Jagellonian University, after recognizing the titles of his studies in 1942-1946 in Krakow and the following ones at the Angelicum in Rome, decreed him the title of Doctor with the qualification of excellent.

Recalled in Krakow for having been appointed deputy parish priest of St. Florian’s Parish.

His publications are starting.

September 1st
Archbishop Baziak put him on leave (until 1953) so that he could prepare for the university teaching examination. Up to this point he had carried out pastoral work for university students (in S. Floriano) and for health care workers.

Since October
He teaches Catholic social ethics at the Theological Faculty of the Jagiellonian University.

December 1st
Teaching qualification interview.

December 3rd
Teaching qualification conference, with approval of the thesis “Evaluation of the possibilities of building Christian ethics on the basis of Max Scheler’s system”.

The Faculty of Theology of the Jagiellonian University was abolished, the Theological Faculty was organized at the seminary in Krakow, where he continued teaching; he also taught at the Catholic University of Lublin as a professor.

From December 1st
He is the official substitute for the full professor and permanent employee of the Catholic University of Lublin.

15 November
The Central Qualification Commission approves your appointment as a free lecturer.

4th July
Bishop Eugeniusz Baziak is appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archbishop of Krakow.

September 28th
He was consecrated bishop in the Cathedral of Wavel.

K. Wojtyła’s teaching qualification dissertation is published by the Society of Sciences (Towarzystwo Naukowe) of the Catholic University of Lublin: “Evaluation of the possibilities of building Christian ethics on the basis of Max Scheler’s system”.

During the year
First edition of “Love and Responsibility” (ed. By TNKUL).

15th April
He is co-opted to the Episcopal Commission for Education.

16 July
After the death of Archbishop Baziak, he was elected vicar capitular.

5th October
He leaves to participate in the work of the Second Vatican Council, First Session (11 October – 8 December).

6 October-4 December
He participated in the work of the Second Session of the Second Vatican Council.

5-15 December
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land with some Bishops of different nationalities present at the Council.

30th December
He is designated Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow.

January 13th
Date of the Papal Bull appointing him Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow.

March 8th
Official settlement in the Wavel Cathedral.

September 10th
He left for the Third Session of the Council (14 September-21 November); at the end of which he went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, staying there for two weeks.

31 January to 6 April
He participated in the work on the schema XIII of Gaudium et spes on the Church in the contemporary world (Ariccia 31 January-6 February; Rome 8 February-13 February; Rome 29 March-6 April).

14 September-8 December
IV Session and conclusion of the Second Vatican Council.

18th November
Letter of reconciliation of the Polish bishops to the German bishops, containing the famous words: “We forgive and ask forgiveness”.

December 29th
The Polish Episcopal Commission for the Apostolate of the Laity is established. Archbishop Wojtyła is its president.

During the year
Present at the many Millennium celebrations in Poland.

13-20 April
Attend the first meeting of the Consilium pro Laicis.

May 29th
Paul VI announces the next Consistory. Among those elected to the cardinalate is the name of Karol Wojtyła.

21st June
He leaves for the Consistory.

June 28th
By Paul VI created Cardinal in the Sistine Chapel and published the Title of St. Caesarean in Palatio.

29 September-29 October
First Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Cardinal Wojtyła did not go there as a sign of solidarity with the Primate, who was not granted a passport.

October 29th
He solemnly receives the frame of the effigy of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa in the Archdiocese of Krakow. The Holy Image was not there, it had been blocked by the authorities in Częstochowa.

February 18th
It takes possession of the titular Church of S. Cesareo in Palatio in Rome.

25th September
Visit “Ad Limina”.

15th December
The “peregrinatio” of the Virgin Mary to the Archdiocese of Krakow ends. Cardinal Wojtyła attended the corresponding ceremonies in 120 parishes.

January 10th
He is registered as a resident of the Archbishopric at 3 Franciszkanska Street. Until that time he had continued to live in the old accommodation in Kanonic Street.

February 28th
During his visit to the Corpus Christi parish he visited the Israeli Community and the Synagogue in the Kazimierz district of Krakow.

15th March
Approval of the Statute of the Episcopal Conference; Cardinal Wojtyła is Vice-President of the Conference.

11-28 October
Returning from North America, he participated in the first extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, as a Member of pontifical nomination.

The Polish Theological Society (PTT) in Krakow publishes “Person and Action” (Osoba i czyn).

April 5th
Consecration of Auxiliary Bishops Stanisław Smolenski and Albin Malysiak.

27 May-2 June
Pilgrimage to Rome of Polish priests ex prisoners in Dachau.

May 29th
He celebrated Mass with Polish priests in St. Peter’s on the occasion of Paul VI’s 50th priesthood.

30th May
Participate in the Mass of Paul VI. Audience on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Pope’s priesthood.

During the year
He makes some pastoral trips to various countries in Europe.

January 8th
Convene the Preparatory Commission of the Synod of the Archdiocese of Krakow.

He elaborated, and then published in the diocesan bulletin “Notificationes”, the project for the convocation of a Diocesan Synod.

September 27th
He leaves for the II Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (30 September-6 November).

5th October
He was elected to the Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

October 17th
He participated in the beatification of Father Maximilian Kolbe.

8 May
Opening of the Synod of the Archdiocese of Krakow.

During the year
It comes out “To the basics of renewal. Study on the implementation of the Second Vatican Council”, published by PTT.

2-9 March
Participate in the Eucharistic Congress in Australia. He also stops in Manila (Philippines) and New Guinea.

He’s taking a trip to Belgium.

June 30th
First meeting of the Commission of experts of the Diocesan Synod. Card. Wojtyła.

26 September-5 October
Visit “Ad Limina”.

5th October
In audience with Paul VI.

Trip to France (Paris; Chamonix; Annecy).

17-25 April
He participated, in Italy, in the Congress organized for the VII Centenary of St. Thomas. On April 23rd he gave a talk there.

28th June
Participate, in Rome, in the celebrations of the anniversary of the coronation of Paul VI and the consecration of Bishop Andrzej Maria Deskur.

27 September-26 October
III Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Card. Wojtyła is the rapporteur of the doctrinal part.

November 1-3
Visit to San Giovanni Rotondo. He had been there for the first time during his years of study and had met Padre Pio.

8-9 February
Convened on the initiative of the Cardinal, the First National Assembly of Doctors and Theologians is held in Krakow.

February 27th
He gives a talk (Participation or alienation?) at the international study seminar on phenomenology in Freiburg.

3-8 March
First meeting of the new Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

May 8th
IV General Assembly of the Synod of Krakow.

19th September
He leaves on his way to the German Democratic Republic.

December 1st
At Card’s invitation. Colombo, he gave a lecture at the Ambrosiana in Milan on the theme: The rights of the human person in the light of the recent Synod of Bishops.

7-13 March
He preached the exercises in the Vatican, in the presence of Paul VI (the meditations will then be collected in the volume Sign of contradiction). He returns to Krakow on March 16.

March 27th
Conference at the Gregorian University of Rome. He keeps the prolusion on the phenomenology of action.

April 1st
He gave two lectures at the Cultural Meetings of the Angelicum in Rome.

23 July-5 September
Pastoral and academic journey to the United States and Canada.

September 8th
Rome, Genoa: report to the Congress of Philosophy “Theory-Praxis: a human and Christian theme”.

November 22nd
In Rome, Card. Wojtyła chairs the Polish delegation to the International Congress of Catholic Universities and Ecclesiastical Faculties on the preparation of the new Apostolic Constitution for Ecclesiastical Studies.

7-15 March
He participates (and in practice presides, given the absence of Card. Seper) in the work of the III meeting of the Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

March 18
At the University of the Sacred Heart of Milan he gave the lecture “The problem of the establishment of culture through human praxis”.

23rd June
Honorary doctorate of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz.

July 1st
Conference at the “Centre du Dialogue” in Paris; in Osny, near Paris, he presides over the Catholic Meeting of Poles.

30 September-29 October
IV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. On October 24 he was elected to the Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod.

12-17 March
He works in the Congregation of Catholic Education. At the same time he participated in the ceremony of conferring the pallium to Archbishop Tomaóek.

16-19 May
Session of the Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

21st June
Milan: “Marriage and love” report at the CISF Congress (International Centre for Family Studies) held on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.

11-12 August
Participate in the funeral of Paul VI.

25th August
The Conclave begins.

August 26th
He was elected Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciani).

August 30th
John Paul I receives the Cardinals in audience; and Card. Wojtyła also in private audience. On September 3 he participated in the inauguration ceremony of the pontificate of John Paul I.

September 19-25
Trip to the Federal Republic of Germany with Primate Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński and Bishops Stroba and Rubin.

3-4 October
He leaves for the funeral of Pope John Paul I and participates in the funeral.

14th October
The Conclave begins.

October 16, 1978 (about 17.15)
Cardinal Karol Wojtyła is elected Pope. He is the 263rd Successor of Peter.
(© VA)