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A manger from the apartments of John Paul II

publish date: 24.12.2022
John Paul II news
On the occasion of this year's Christmas, our museum's permanent exhibition presents for the first time the manger that the Holy Father had in his room in the Apostolic Palace. This unique exhibit will be on display in the living room of the Wojtyła family's former apartment until February 2, 2023.

Unusual symbol of Christmas

The small wooden manger is filled with hay, on which rests the figure of the Infant Jesus covered with white linen on a white tablecloth. This unusual symbol of Christmas was given to John Paul II by the Pauline Fathers of Jasna Gora in the Jubilee Year of 2000. We know from the message of Sister Tobiana Sobótka (a female religious saint working at the Vatican on a daily basis during the pontificate of the Polish Pope) that the manger was in the Holy Father's room and it was directly from there that it was brought to Wadowice. This was thanks to the custodian of the museum at the time - Sister Magdalena Strzelecka, a Nazareth nun.

From a letter to children

Christmas traditions, and among them the nativity scene, were very important to John Paul II. In his "Letter to Children," he wrote:
"I see you preparing the Bethlehem stable at home, in the parish, in all corners of the world, bringing closer the climate and environment in which the Savior was born. Yes! During the Christmas season, the Bethlehem stable with the manger of the Child occupies a central place in the Church."

Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki believes that for the Pope it was not only a return to his childhood days, but above all a reflection on the mystery of the Nativity. In his book "A Place for Everyone. The Story of John Paul II's Holiness," he recalled that:

"[during his time, the Holy Father] did not go down to the nativity scene in the evenings as often as he used to. He was already older and had less strength. But he liked to visit it very much. As many times as we passed that way, he would stop and pray at the crèche. Several times a day he would look at the crib from the window."