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The Smiling Pope: The Life and Teaching of John Paul I Paperback – March 1, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor (IN) (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931709971
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931709972
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Farr on May 2, 2014
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From the poverty of the northern hill country of Italy to the Chair of St. Peter. What an odyssey. Don Angelo Roncali, later Pope John XXIII, had it right when he described him as the most lovable person he had ever met.
He walked with Christ in love, joy, and humility. The first two make the humility something glorious. He early learned how to write and so to speak, 'always keeping in mind that old peasant lady reading you.' He wrote with stories and delightful word pictures.The second half of the book gives us some examples of his writing, thankfully. He loved people more than power. He was in the Vatican too short a time.
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This 2004 book contains biographical material from "a Carmelite nun who wishes to remain anonymous"; editors Raymond and Lauretta Seabeck founded the Missionary Servants of Pope John Paul I, which works closely with the Missionaries of Charity established in Haiti by Mother Teresa. They wrote in the Introduction, "we feel that it is important to publish more of his collected works in English... Our little smiling Pope, Albino Luciani, is affectionately called 'Papa' by his fellow Italians. We hope to publish this series of books by or about Pope John Paul I, to convey Papa's spirit, and his message, to a world hungry for holiness. Papa states over and over in his writings we are all called to be saints. With his compelling stories, his simple style, and his humble example, we can all... try 'to be what God wants us to be and do what God wants us to do.'" (Pg. 7-8)

The book begins with an 80-page Biographical Sketch. They note, "Luciani loved the rosary and was frequently seen with it in his hands. In 1972, he wrote, 'The rosary becomes a look at Mary, which grows in intensity little by little as one proceeds. It ends by being a refrain which springs from the heart and, which repeated, sweetens the soul like a song.'" (Pg. 36-37)

They record, "People called Luciani a progressive because he loved the little ones, the sick, the castoffs, and defended the rights of the workers. To the latter he said, 'If you should meet up with the big problems, knock at my door. I am the son of workers and I can understand you.' He tried to be the mediator between the feuds of the employers and the workers, but did not always succeed." (Pg. 40)

Upon his election, they state, "Still smiling, the Pope turned and went inside to the waiting cardinals.
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the first few pages of the book is a biographical brief that had been written by a Carmelite nun some time ago. Had this been expanded into a full biography this book would garnish a few more stars. But, instead, the bulk of the book is made up entirely of translations of some of his heaviest epistles steeped in difficult to understand theology. None of these speaks of where he stood on the issues of his day. The book paints Luciani out to be a man who spent his life on his knees and ignored the issues of his day. Whereas, if one reads Lucien Gregoire's biography of this Pope - Murder in the Vatican - nothing could be further from the truth; as he had spent his life pulling others up off their knees caring for the immense orphan population of his time - monks building and maintaining orphanages and nuns as teachers and as nurses caring for those too ill to come to school. Yet, hats off to the Carmelite nun who thought enough of this great man to have published the first translations of his life into english.
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While we must still wait patiently for the appearance of a fullscale biography of Pope John Paul I, this little book provides at least a glimpse into his personality, and helps to fill in the events surrounding his fascinating life. The biographical material at the beginning is quite limited in scope, but is by far the most through material currently available in English. It leaves us wishing for more, but it does manage to present some of the holiness and lightheartedness of this good servant of God. The real prize is the selection from Luciani's essays, where his warmth and clarity come through clearly. The Seabecks have done a wonderful and important work in bringing these ideas of Papa Luciani to a wider audience. Better still, a truly interested reader will want to obtain a used copy of Luciani's out of print masterwork, "Illustrissimi" where his humor and erudition come through clearly. Albino Luciani was neither an arch conservative nor an ultra-liberal, as some would infer. He was so much more: he was a good and humble servant of God, whose whole life calls us away from narrow partisanship and toward deeper service in the name of Love. His death was a real tragedy, both on a personal and ecclesiastical level. But his living spirit and his lessons abide with us still in this lovely little book.
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I really learned a lot about this pope. Begins with a nice biography, then turns to various homilies and lectures over the years (mostly from before his pontificate). No exceptionally long passages, so easy to pick up and read for a short time. Much of his writing is so contemporary, he really spoke to our times. If you like JP2, you'll like JP1, too! :)
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BEAUTIFUL STORY OF A LITTLE KNOWN & SAINTLY LEADER. HE CHOSE JOHN PAUL I OUT OF HIS LOVE OF THE JOHN THE 23RD & PAUL THE 6TH. JOHN PAUL THE 2ND CHOSE HIS NAME BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE FOR JOHN PAUL 1ST
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