Polish Bishops Open Beatification Process for St. John Paul II’s Parents

The Polish episcopate made the announcement Oct. 10.

St. John Paul II as a small child with his parents, Karol and Emilia.
St. John Paul II as a small child with his parents, Karol and Emilia. (photo: Archidiecezja Krakowska via CNA)

KRAKOW, Poland — The Polish bishops’ conference has agreed to begin the canonization process for the parents of St. John Paul II.

The Polish episcopate made the announcement Oct. 10, setting in motion the first steps for the beatification of John Paul II’s father, Karol Wojtyla, and mother, Emilia, née Kaczorowska.

The next step will be to ask the Holy See to initiate the process of sainthood at the level of the Archdiocese of Krakow.

Karol, a Polish Army lieutenant, and Emilia, a schoolteacher, were married in Krakow Feb. 10, 1906. The Catholic couple gave birth to three children: Edmund in 1906; Olga, who died shortly after her birth; and Karol Jr. in 1920.

The family was known to be faithful Catholics and rejected the increasing anti-Semitism of the time.

“The immediate family strongly influenced the spiritual and intellectual development of the future Pope,” the bishops’ conference said.

Emilia had received a formal religious education. Before she died of a heart attack and liver failure in 1929, the mother was a staple of faith for the household. At the time of her death, Karol Jr. was a month away from his ninth birthday.

“Emilia Wojtyła graduated from the monastery school of the Sisters of Divine Love. With full dedication and love, she ran the house and looked after the sons Edmund and Karol,” the conference said.

His father raised his sons alone until his death 12 years later. According to Catholic Online, Karol was a prayerful man and pushed Karol Jr. to be hardworking and studious. The father also took on family chores such as sewing his son’s clothes.

As the conference said, “Karol Wojtyła Sr. as a father was a deeply religious, hardworking and conscientious man. John Paul II repeatedly mentioned that he had seen his father kneeling and praying even at night. It was his father who taught him the prayer to the Holy Spirit which accompanied him to the end of his life.”