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We were united in suffering…but the Father is saved

After a short rest, the Holy Father woke up again early in the morning.  He looked at me again, this time consciously and – unbelievable – he asked: “Did I pray the evening prayer?” He was under impression that it is still Wednesday, May 13.  The first three days were a nightmare.  The Holy Father was continuously praying.  And, he was suffering, suffering a lot.  But, even greater, this inner one, deep, which was not going away, was his suffering caused by Cardinal Wyszyński’s passing.  I have seen the Primate two days before the assassination attempt, in his home in Warsaw.  He was bedridden due to a serious illness.  The Holy Father sent me there, to visit him.  The Cardinal knew that this is the end, but he was in a good spirit; he entrusted himself entirely to the will of God.  We talked for a long time; he wanted to pass to the Pope his last will, he even wrote a letter.  When he learned about the assassination attempt, that the life of the Holy Father is in mortal danger, it seemed that Cardinal Wyszyński’s was holding tightly into life, that he did not want to pass away without being sure…and thus for three weeks, he was in unbearable agony.  He closed his eyes, only when he was told that the Pope’s life is no longer in danger.   With emotions, I recall the last brief phone conversation between the dying Primate and still much weakened Pope.  There was frail, barely audible voice of the Cardinal: “We were united in suffering… but the Holy Father is saved.”  And, then: “Holy Father, bless me…..”   The Pope did not want to say these words as he knew very well that this is their last farewell:  “Yes, yes.  I bless your lips… I bless your hands…”  The life of John Paul II was still in danger.  After returning to the Vatican, the Holy Father got again the fever, which was accompanied by a general malaise and sharper pain.  It was necessary to go back to the Gemelli Polyclinic and after discovering a dangerous virus, called cytomegalovirus; a second operation to remove the fistula was performed.  This time everything went well, there were no complications.  On August 14, on the eve of the Assumption Day, the Holy Father could finally return home.

Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz – “Testimony” 

 TBA Publisher, Warszawa 2007