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Vatican: The Pope - John Paul II :Human Emotions: The secret letters of Pope John Paul II - by Ed Stourton

Pope John Paul II was one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century, revered by millions and made a saint in record time, just nine years after he died. The BBC has seen letters he wrote to a married woman, the Polish-born philosopher Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, that shed new light on his emotional life.

Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka was a great hoarder, and she seems to have kept everything relating to her 32-year friendship with Saint John Paul. After her death, a huge cache of photographs was found among her possessions.

We are used to seeing John Paul in formal papal clothing amid the grandeur of the Vatican, and yet here he is on the ski slopes, wearing shorts on a lake-side camping trip, and, in old age, entertaining privately in his rather sparse-looking living quarters.

Even more revealing is the archive of letters that Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka sold to the National Library of Poland in 2008. These were kept away from public view until they were shown to the BBC.

Read more: The secret letters of Pope John Paul II - BBC News

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