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Pope John Paul II
A young Karol Józef Wojtyła was a keen soccer player at elementary school. Although he suffered the loss of his mother at the age of 8, and later his big brother Edmond, this didn't stop him from going on to Jagiellonian University, where he studied philology (the study of language in oral and written historical sources) among other subjects. It was there that he developed his talent for languages, learning up to 12 -- which proved very useful for his future role as pope.