In his epic biography on the life of Blessed John Paul II, Witness To Hope, George Weigel reflects on the richness of the late Holy Father’s life and legacy:
One way to think of Karol Wojtyła’s life “from inside” is to think of it as running along a particularly broad-gauged rail bed.
He is an intellectual who is unbeholden to the shibboleths of the professoriat and who has a deep appreciation for untutored popular piety.
He is an accomplished philosopher, recognized as such by peers throughout the world, but he never took a serious course in the subject.
He is a mystic who was a vigorous sportsman for almost seventy years.
He is a celibate with a remarkable insight into human sexuality, especially as viewed from the perspective and experience of women.
He lived from age nineteen until age fifty-eight under totalitarian regimes and has written cogently about the cultural factors that make democracy possible.
He is a Pole with a marked sensitivity toward Jews and Judaism.
He has had a considerable impact on world affairs and the life of the Church while evincing not the slightest interest in management theory or in the conventions of politics.
He is arguably the most well-informed man in the world, yet he rarely reads newspapers.
He has been a notably successful statesman without extensive preparation or the job.
He was blessed with great mentors as a young man, but he is primarily an autodidact who learns quickly from experience.
He has a penetrating insight into those he meets, such that one wants to entrust him with one’s decisions, but his signature phrase as a confessor and spiritual counselor has always been “You must decide.”
He has demonstrated the ability to rouse the passions of some of the largest crowds in human history, but he has never played the demagogue.
He is a disciple known for the intensity of his love, like the apostle John, who has been called to exercise an office of authority and jurisdiction in the Church, like the apostle Peter (13).
We at the Blessed John Paul II Shrine aren’t the only ones who believe that this sainted man’s life is one that needs to be shared. So the beautiful, exciting, and inspiring story of Blessed John Paul II’s life and legacy is what we are narrating here as we begin to construct our permanent exhibit, which is slated to open mid-2014. Through artifacts, newspapers, quotations, pictures, interactive displays, and films the rich texture of his life will come alive in a place where he can also be truly venerated.