...I work on an essay for my Maryvale course (see column alongside), I use a Bible that looks just like any ordinary paperback Bible.
But it's special. It's signed by soon-to-be-Blessed John Paul II.
Some twenty years ago, after organising the XVIth International Congress for the Family, in Britain, my husband went with other Congress organisers to Rome and were granted an audience with the Holy Father. J. had prepared some gifts for him - a Congress teeshirt, an information pack giving details of the event - and also presented him with a Bible which he had already inscribed to "Mr and Mrs J. Bogle" and which he asked the H. Father to sign. Now, you're not really meant to do that - protocol forbids, etc etc - but this was JPII and he took the book like the father that he was, and smiled, and signed it, and now it stands on the shelf beside me as I write, and I use it for my studying, and for my prayers, and I value it more than I can really put into words. And I have a picture of J. with JPII to confirm this story, and JPII also gave him a rosary, which I use, and will use for the rest of my life.
This week, I've been reading up about JPII, especially the book by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz describing his forty years of working alongside him. More and more details are neginning to emerge about JPII's life, especially the amount of time he spent in prayer, his physical courage, his commonsense, and his wisdom. This was an extraordinary man: we all knew it at the time, but as he finds his place in history, it is becoming even more apparent.