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Family home of John Paul II

Family home of John Paul II

With filial devotion I kiss the threshold of my family home and express my gratitude to Divine Providence for the gift of life bestowed on me by my parents, for the warm family nest, for the love of my dear ones that gave me a sense of security and strength, even when the time came to encounter the experience of death and the hardships of everyday life in difficult times.

John Paul II
Wadowice, 16 June 1999

dom rodzinny The house in Kościelna Street was built prior to 1845. Its first known owner was Seweryn Kurowski, an insurgent in the January Uprising, who sold it in 1905 to Joseph Lisko. In 1911, the house was purchased by Chiel Bałamuth.

In 1919 Mr and Mrs Karol Wojtyła moved into the building with their son Edmund. They took a flat on the first floor consisting of a kitchen, bedroom and living room.

On 18 May 1920, Karol Jozef Wojtyła, who later became Pope John Paul II, was born in the tiny bedroom.

From the windows of their flat, the Wojtyła family could see the sundial on the wall of the church with the inscription ‘Time flies, eternity waits’. Looking eastward, they could see the Banaś Hygienic Creamery. Next to it, behind a wall, was a sloping yard containing an amphitheater. Further on was a flat area behind a girls’ school where the boys played football. His older brother, who infected Karol with a passion for this sport, was an attacker, while Karol mostly tended the goal.

In 1929 Karol’s mother, Emilia, died at home, followed three years later by his beloved brother Edmund, then a doctor at a hospital in Bielsko-Biała, where he contracted scarlet fever. Karol Wojtyła lived with his father in Wadowice until he had finished high school. In 1938 they moved to Cracow.

After World War II the building housed rental apartments.

Following the election of Karol Wojtyła to the throne of St Peter, Dr Edward Zacher, the parish priest, took steps to open an exhibition devoted to the Pope in the home at Kościelna 7. On 18 May 1984, thanks to the considerable help of Monsignor Kazimierz Suder, the exhibition (the Family Home of Holy Father John Paul II) was opened. It was cared for by the Nazarene Sisters, with Sister Magdalena Strzelecka serving as its long-term custodian.

On 12 April 2010, pursuant to an agreement between the Archdiocese of Cracow, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the Malopolska Voivodeship, and the Municipality of Wadowice, the Museum of the Family Home of Holy Father John Paul II was created.

Then, on 5 October 2010, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Metropolitan of Cracow, Marek Nawara, Marshal of the Malopolska Region, Piotr Zuchowski, the Vice Minister of Culture and National Heritage, and Ewa Filipiak, Mayor of Wadowice, laid the ceremonial cornerstone for the rebuilding of the Family Home of John Paul II.

The heart of the museum is the former flat of the Wojtyła family.

Date of introduction: February 22, 2016