There are few items in the Collection to compare with the rare acquisitions of these two note-cards, one written entirely in his own hand and both signed by Pope John Paul with the affectionate term, Wujek (Uncle).
The Story of the Endearing Term, “Wujek” (Uncle) for Beloved Saint John Paul II:
While a priest in Kraków, groups of students regularly joined Wojtyła for hiking, skiing, bicycling, camping and kayaking, accompanied by prayer, outdoor Masses and theological discussions.
In Stalinist-era Poland, it was not permitted for priests to travel with groups of students. Father Wojtyła asked his younger companions to call him “Wujek” (Polish for “Uncle”) to prevent outsiders from deducing he was a priest.
The nickname gained popularity among his followers. In 1958, when Wojtyła was named auxiliary bishop of Kraków, his acquaintances expressed concern that this would cause him to change.
Wojtyła responded to his friends, “Wujek will remain Wujek,” and he continued to live a simple life, shunning the trappings that came with his position as Bishop.
This beloved nickname stayed with Wojtyła for his entire life and continues to be affectionately used, particularly by the Polish people.
Here is a link to the many items in the Collection belonging to or associated with the Curator’s favorite saint. Father Kunst had seven private audiences with Pope John Paul II and has rosaries given to him from the Pope, a zucchetto (with a marvelous story connected to acquiring it) and the Pope’s chasuble worn at the closing ceremony of World Youth Day, Denver–another incredibly poignant story. (The featured item above is Pope John Paul wearing that chasuble in Denver.) Please visit Papal Artifacts/John Paul II to hear these stories and see the artifacts.