is the text of the spiritual testament of John Paul II, which was
released today in an Italian translation of the original Polish. The
translation from Italian into English has been done by VIS:
The testament of 6.3.1979 (and successive additions)
"Totus Tuus ego sum"
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.
"Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming"
(cf. Mt 24, 42) - these words remind me of the last call, which will
happen at the moment the Lord wishes. I desire to follow Him, and I
desire that everything making up part of my earthly life should prepare
me for this moment. I do not know when the moment will come, but like
everything else, I place it too in the hands of the Mother of my Master:
Totus Tuus. In the same maternal Hands I leave everything and everyone
with whom my life and vocation have linked me. In these Hands I leave,
above all, the Church, as well as my Nation and all humanity. I thank
everyone. Of everyone I ask forgiveness. I also ask for prayer, that the
Mercy of God may appear greater than my weakness and unworthiness.
During the spiritual exercises I re-read the testament of the Holy
Father Paul VI. That reading prompted me to write this testament.
I leave no property behind me of which it is necessary to dispose. As
for the everyday objects that were of use to me, I ask they be
distributed as seems appropriate. My personal notes are to be burned. I
ask that this be attended to by Father Stanislaw, whom I thank for his
collaboration and help, so prolonged over the years and so
understanding. As for all other thanks, I leave them in my heart before
God Himself, because it is difficult to express them.
As for the funeral, I repeat the same dispositions as were given by the
Holy Father Paul VI. (Here is a note in the margin: burial in the bare
earth, not in a sarcophagus, 13.3.92).
"apud Dominum misericordia et copiosa apud Eum redemptio"
John Paul pp. II
After my death I ask for Masses and prayers.
Undated sheet of paper
I express my profound trust that, despite all my weakness, the Lord will
grant me all the grace necessary to face according to His will any task,
trial or suffering that He will ask of His servant, in the course of his
life. I also trust that He will never allow me - through some attitude
of mine: words, deeds or omissions — to betray my obligations in this
holy Petrine See.
24.II - 1.III.1980
Also during these spiritual exercises, I have reflected on the truth of
the Priesthood of Christ in the perspective of that Transit that for
each of us is the moment of our own death. For us the Resurrection of
Christ is an eloquent (added above: decisive) sign of departing from
this world - to be born in the next, in the future world.
I have read, then, the copy of my testament from last year, also written
during the spiritual exercises — I compared it with the testament of
my great predecessor and Father, Paul VI, with that sublime witness to
death of a Christian and a Pope — and I have renewed within me an
awareness of the questions to which the copy of 6.III.1979 refers,
prepared by me (in a somewhat provisional way).
Today I wish to add only this: that each of us must bear in mind the
prospect of death. And must be ready to present himself before the Lord
and Judge — Who is at the same time Redeemer and Father. I too
continually take this into consideration, entrusting that decisive
moment to the Mother of Christ and of the Church - to the Mother of my
The times in which we live are unutterably difficult and disturbed. The
path of the Church has also become difficult and tense, a characteristic
trial of these times — both for the Faithful and for Pastors. In some
Countries (as, for example, in those about which I read during the
spiritual exercises), the Church is undergoing a period of such
persecution as to be in no way lesser than that of early centuries,
indeed it surpasses them in its degree of cruelty and hatred. "Sanguis
martyrum — semen christianorum.". And apart from this — many people
die innocently even in this Country in which we are living.
Once again, I wish to entrust myself totally to the Lord's grace. He
Himself will decide when and how I must end my earthly life and pastoral
ministry. In life and in death, Totus Tuus in Mary Immaculate. Accepting
that death, even now, I hope that Christ will give me the grace for the
final passage, in other words (my) Easter. I also hope that He makes
(that death) useful for this more important cause that I seek to serve:
the salvation of men and women, the safeguarding of the human family
and, in that, of all nations and all peoples (among them, I particularly
address my earthly Homeland), and useful for the people with whom He
particularly entrusted me, for the question of the Church, for the glory
of God Himself.
I do not wish to add anything to what I wrote a year ago - only to
express this readiness and, at the same time, this trust, to which the
current spiritual exercises have again disposed me.
John Paul II
Totus Tuus ego sum
In the course of this year's spiritual exercises I have read (a number
of times) the text of the testament of 6.III.1979. Although I still
consider it provisional (not definitive), I leave it in the form in
which it exists. I change nothing (for now), and neither do I add
anything, as concerns the dispositions contained therein.
The attempt upon my life on 13.V.1981 in some way confirmed the accuracy
of the words written during the period of the spiritual exercises of
1980 (24.II - 1.III).
All the more deeply I now feel that I am totally in the Hands of God -
and I remain continually at the disposal of my Lord, entrusting myself
to Him in His Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus)
John Paul pp.II
In connection with the last sentence in my testament of 6.III.1979
("concerning the site / that is, the site of the funeral / let the
College of Cardinals and Compatriots decide") - I will make it clear
that I have in mind: the metropolitan of Krakow or the General Council
of the Episcopate of Poland - In the meantime I ask the College of
Cardinals to satisfy, as far as possible, any demands of the
1.III.1985 (during the spiritual exercises)
Again — as regards the expression "College of Cardinals and
Compatriots": the "College of Cardinals" has no obligation to consult
"Compatriots" on this subject, however it can do so, if for some reason
it feels it is right to do so.
Spiritual exercise of the Jubilee Year 2000 (12-18.III) (for my
1. When, on October 16, 1978 the conclave of cardinals chose John Paul
II, the primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski told me: "The duty
of the new Pope will be to introduce the Church into the Third
Millennium." I don't know if I am repeating this sentence exactly, but
at least this was the sense of what I heard at the time. This was said
by the Man who entered history as the primate of the Millennium. A great
primate. I was a witness to his mission, to his total entrustment. To
his battles. To his victory. "Victory, when it comes, will be a victory
through Mary" - The primate of the Millennium used to repeat these words
of his predecessor, Cardinal August Hlond.
In this way I was prepared in some manner for the duty that presented
itself to me on October 16, 1978. As I write these words, the Jubilee
Year 2000 is already a reality. The night of December 24, 1999 the
symbolic Door of the Great Jubilee in the Basilica of Saint Peter's was
opened, then that of Saint John Lateran, then Saint Mary Major - on New
Year's, and on January 19 the Door of the Basilica of Saint Paul's
Outside-the-Walls. This last event, given its ecumenical character, has
remained impressed in my memory in a special way.
2. As the Jubilee Year progressed, day by day the 20th century closes
behind us and the 21st century opens. According to the plans of Divine
Providence I was allowed to live in the difficult century that is
retreating into the past, and now, in the year in which my life reaches
80 years ('octogesima adveniens'), it is time to ask oneself if it is
not the time to repeat with the biblical Simeone 'nunc dimittis'.
On May 13, 1981, the day of the attack on the Pope during the general
audience in Saint Peter's Square, Divine Providence saved me in a
miraculous way from death. The One Who is the Only Lord of life and
death Himself prolonged my life, in a certain way He gave it to me
again. From that moment it belonged to Him even more. I hope He will
help me to recognize up to what point I must continue this service to
which I was called on October 16, 1978. I ask him to call me back when
He Himself wishes. 'In life and in death we belong to the Lord ... we
are the Lord's. (cf. Rm 14,8). I also hope that, as long as I am called
to fulfil the Petrine service in the Church, the Mercy of God will give
me the necessary strength for this service.
3. As I do every year during spiritual exercises I read my testament
from 6-III-1979. I continue to maintain the dispositions contained in
this text. What then, and even during successive spiritual exercises,
has been added constitutes a reflection of the difficult and tense
general situation which marked the Eighties. From autumn of the year
1989 this situation changed. The last decade of the century was free of
the previous tensions; that does not mean that it did not bring with it
new problems and difficulties. In a special way may Divine Providence be
praised for this, that the period of the so-called 'cold war' ended
without violent nuclear conflict, the danger of which weighed on the
world in the preceding period.
4. Being on the threshold of the third millennium "in medio Ecclesiae" I
wish once again to express gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great
gift of Vatican Council II, to which, together with the entire Church -
and above all the entire episcopacy — I feel indebted. I am convinced
that for a long time to come the new generations will draw upon the
riches that this Council of the 20th century gave us. As a bishop who
participated in this conciliar event from the first to the last day, I
wish to entrust this great patrimony to all those who are and who will
be called in the future to realize it. For my part I thank the eternal
Pastor Who allowed me to serve this very great cause during the course
of all the years of my pontificate.
"In medio Ecclesiae".... from the first years of my service as a bishop
- precisely thanks to the Council — I was able to experience the
fraternal communion of the Episcopacy. As a priest of the archdiocese of
Krakow I experienced the fraternal communion among priests — and the
Council opened a new dimension to this experience.
5. How many people should I list! Probably the Lord God has called to
Himself the majority of them - as to those who are still on this side,
may the words of this testament recall them, everyone and everywhere,
wherever they are.
During the more than 20 years that I am fulfilling the Petrine service
"in medio Ecclesiae" I have experienced the benevolence and even more
the fecund collaboration of so many cardinals, archbishops and bishops,
so many priests, so many consecrated persons — brothers and sisters -
and, lastly, so very, very many lay persons, within the Curia, in the
vicariate of the diocese of Rome, as well as outside these milieux.
How can I not embrace with grateful memory all the bishops of the world
whom I have met in "ad limina Apostolorum" visits! How can I not recall
so many non-Catholic Christian brothers! And the rabbi of Rome and so
many representatives of non -Christian religions! And how many
representatives of the world of culture, science, politics, and of the
means of social communication!
6. As the end of my life approaches I return with my memory to the
beginning, to my parents, to my brother, to the sister (I never knew
because she died before my birth), to the parish in Wadowice, where I
was baptized, to that city I love, to my peers, friends from elementary
school, high school and the university, up to the time of the occupation
when I was a worker, and then in the parish of Niegowic, then Saint
Florian's in Krakow, to the pastoral ministry of academics, to the
milieu of....to all milieux....to Krakow and to Rome....to the people
who were entrusted to me in a special way by the Lord.
To all I want to say just one thing: "May God reward you."
"In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum."