John Paul the Great--Third Order Carmelite

| | Comments (6)

I've never really made much of this claim, because there is a natural tendency on the parts of humans and human institutions to claim as their own one they recognize as great. However, I finally found a page that (1) has "documentary" evidence that this statement is true (by this, I mean something other than second-hand assertions and claims--I wanted it straight from the Pope's "mouth"/hand) and (2) has one of the most atypical pictures of Pope John Paul I've seen.

I guess I'm just slow about coming around to things because my standards of proof are exceedingly high. But this is an interesting excerpt from a brief biography on the USCCB website:

He entered Krakow’s clandestine theological seminary in 1942, a risky step under the Gestapo’s watchful eyes. Always drawn to the mystical and contemplative, at one point he considered joining the local Carmelite order instead of the diocesan priesthood. But his cardinal told him: “Finish what you’ve begun,” and the local Carmelite director is said to have turned him away with the words: “You are destined for greater things.”

This passage argues for the logic of a tertiary connection. Oh well, as I said, I'm a bit slow to embrace these things.

Bookmark and Share



I had heard he was a third order Carmelite when I was in grad school. There was never much "playing it up" by the Carmelites I know so, I have long wondered if he was or not. It certainly fits with who he was.

Dear Mr. Riddle,

Does George Weigel's biography mention this? I can't remember (and it's at home).

Cheers -


Like you, I always like some other documentation on these things. Too bad there isn't a "Snopes" for this sort of thing! :-)

Dear Mr. White,

I don't believe so, that's one reason I've always wondered about it; however, I am not expert on it, and the biography is massive.



JP2 the Great was indeed a secular Carmelite and did his doctoral thesis on St. John of the Cross.
We always claim him as 'one of our own".

He was turned away from the Carmelites because he broke his leg and the orders cannot accept candidates who have handicaps that may need extensive attention in the future.

As a secular Carmelite, he was a friend of the order and started the process to canonize more Carmelite saints than any Pope in history. If not secular Carmelite, he possessed a Carmelite heart and in the photo the scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, given to all Carmelites at profession, is clearly visiable.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 7, 2005 8:49 AM.

This Morning, the Server Ate My Homework was the previous entry in this blog.

Timeline of John Paul the Great Highlights is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll