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St. John Paul II believed a “motherly hand” deflected the bullet


Derrick Ceyrac | AFP

Philip Kosloski - published on 05/12/24

When St. John Paul II was shot on May 13, 1981, he believed a "motherly hand" guided the bullet, which bypassed his major organs.

Of all people in the world, St. John Paul II was targeted as an enemy and shot by a trained assassin on May 13, 1981.

Remarkably, none of St. John Paul II’s vital organs was hit, and according to some members of the medical team, they believed one of the bullets seemed to have been “deflected.”

Cardinal Angelo Sodano spoke at Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 2000, and relayed the thoughts of St. John Paul II regarding this providential event in his life:

After the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981, it appeared evident to His Holiness that it was “a motherly hand that guided the bullet’s path,” enabling the “dying Pope” to halt “at the threshold of death.”

St. John Paul II referred to this event again on May 13, 2001, recalling Mary’s motherly protection:

I ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to show her motherly protection to these new priests of the Diocese of Rome, on the day on which we commemorate her apparitions in Fátima. I myself experienced her protection on May 13 twenty years ago.

Third Secret of Fatima

According to the Third Secret of Fatima, received by Sr. Lucia, a man dressed in white would appear to be killed:

And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’… he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. 

In the vision, the pope is shot and is killed.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI) wrote in a commentary on the Third Secret that the assassination attempt on St. John Paul II’s life shows that the vision was not set in stone, but that it could be changed:

When, after the attempted assassination on May 13, 1981, the Holy Father had the text of the third part of the “secret” brought to him, was it not inevitable that he should see in it his own fate? He had been very close to death, and he himself explained his survival in the following words: “… it was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death” (13 May 1994). That here “a mother’s hand” had deflected the fateful bullet only shows once more that there is no immutable destiny, that faith and prayer are forces which can influence history and that in the end prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies.   

St. John Paul II was dearly devoted to the Blessed Mother and would constantly invoke her aid. It was no surprise to him that she would intercede when called upon.

FatimaPope John Paul IIVirgin Mary
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