Pope John Paul II had a close friendship with a married American woman for more than three decades, according to hundreds of newly released letters and photographs.
The Pontiff invited Polish-born American philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, to join him on hikes, skiing and camping trips, the BBC reports. The then 50-year-old woman also visited the Pope at the Vatican.
The documents, released to the BBC by the National Library of Poland, also show the two discussing intimate and intense emotions that Tymieniecka appeared to reveal to the Pope. “My dear Teresa, I have received all three letters. You write about being torn apart, but I could find no answer to these words,” he wrote to her in 1976, describing her as a “gift from God.” The Pope also wrote in 1974 that her letters were “so meaningful and deeply personal.”
The pair began their friendship in 1973 when Tymieniecka traveled to Poland to discuss a book on philosophy. Pope John Paul II died in 2005, and Tymieniecka passed away in 2014. The BBC says there is no suggestion that he broke his vow of celibacy.