I have a scholar-friend doing research in Poland right now who is fascinated by the story of this woman, Wanda Poltawska who is known to have been one of Pope John Paul's closest friends (and he had a great capacity for friendship).
What a life. Victim of Nazi medical experiments, beneficiary of a miraculous healing through Padre Pio, intimate friend to one of the great international figures of her day. Poltowska could serve as a poster child for the tragedies and glories of 20th century Poland. I've read that when Padre Pio received the letter from then Bishop Karol Wojtyla asking him to pray for the healing of this wife, mother, and physician, Pio said "This one, one cannot refuse".
My friend's Fulbright research is on the Catholic laity so he doesn't want to focus primarily on her relationship with Pope John Paul II but on her own experience as a serious lay Catholic. Wanda Poltawska was an expert in human sexuality and one of John Paul's advisors for his work in the Theology of the Body.
There has been considerable consternation in some ecclesial circles about the publication of her correspondence with the Pope and accusations that she is attempting to "profit" from her friendship with JPII.
I, for one, would very much like to hear from his friends while they are living. And it seems most appropriate as his cause for canonization is underway.
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