The beloved late Pope John Paul II, also known as John Paul the Great, will officially become a saint this Sunday. He was pope for 27 years, from 1978 until his death in 2005. He was also the first non-Italian Pope since Pope Adrian VI, in 1542.
He ascended to the papacy with remarkable speed, and to sainthood as well — just nine years after his death. The traditional five year waiting period to start the process was waived. He is credited with two miracles, including healing a woman from Parkinson’s Disease two months after his death. He himself suffered from Parkinson’s late in his life.
Rome officials said they expected 3 million visitors in the city from last week’s Easter celebrations to the canonization Sunday. The late Pope John XXIII, “the Good,” will also be canonized.
Curious? Here are some pictures of important moments in his life and death.