Pope John Paul II's Childhood and Mary

– Excerpt from Zenit press release of 10/14/00 (http://www.zenit.org/)

ROME, OCT. 13, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- It was during the dark years of the Nazi occupation of Poland that a young Karol Wojtyla discovered the role of Mary in his life.

John Paul II spoke about his youth today during an address to participants of the 8th International Mariological Colloquium, taking place in Rome.

The meeting was the occasion of an official petition to the Pope to have him declare Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort (1673-1716) a doctor of the Church.

Grignon de Montfort is one of the classical writers of Christian spirituality, from whom the Holy Father borrowed the motto "Totus Tuus" ("All Yours").

During the Nazi occupation, when he worked in Krakow's Solvay factory, the future Pope "read and reread many times and with great spiritual profit" an ascetic work of Grignon de Montfort.

It led the young seminarian to understand that Mary's presence in the spiritual life of a Christian does not compete with the person of Christ, but stems from him and is at his service.

The Holy Father recalled: "Then I understood that I could not exclude the Lord's Mother from my life without neglecting the will of God-Trinity, who willed to begin and fulfill the great mysteries of the history of salvation with the responsible and faithful collaboration of the humble handmaid of Nazareth."

Thus, John Paul II emphasized how Grignon de Montfort invites the faithful to live a spirituality that encourages giving oneself consciously to Christ and, through him, to the Holy Spirit and the Father.

The Pope explained that he chose as the motto of his episcopate and pontificate the words "All Yours," as an act of entrustment to Mary.

"In repeating every day 'Totus tuus,' and living in harmony with her," he said, "one can attain to the experience of the Father in limitless confidence and love, to docility to the Holy Spirit, and to the transformation of self according to the image of Christ."


The John Stokes and Mary's Garden collection was transferred to the Marian Library in May 2013. In addition to his archives, manuscripts, artwork, and personal library, John S. Stokes also donated his extensive website. It was transferred to the Marian Library in early 2010. This particular entry is archived content original to Stokes' Mary's Gardens website. It is possible that some text, hyperlinks, etc. are outdated.

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