“It was in this town, in Wadowice, that it all began. Life began, and school began, and study began, and the theatre began, and the priesthood began”
John Paul II, Wadowice, 16 June 1999
This small town of around 20,000 about 50 km west of Krakow is the birthplace of Pope John Paul II. He was baptised in the local Church of the Presentation of Our Lady, and as a child he prayed before the miraculous painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. The font at which the future pope and saint was christened is in the Chapel of the Holy Family. The first church on the site was built in the fourteenth century. The fifteenth-century sanctuary has survived to our time, while the present nave was constructed in the years 1791-1798 in the Late Baroque style. The building was elevated to the rank of basilica minor by Pope John Paul II.
The church is just a few dozen metres from Karol Wojtyła’s family home. During his pilgrimage to Wadowice, John Paul II recollected: “… when I looked out of the window I could see the church and the sundial on its wall, with the inscription: ‘Time flies, eternity awaits’.” The Wojtyła family occupied a two-roomed apartment on the first floor of a tenement building which now houses the John Paul II Family Home Museum.