- Catholic Weekly
Pope John Paul II who inspired Anna Tillett to become Catholic will becanonised on 27 April, the anniversary of the day she was brought into full communion with the Church. 'My devotion to JPII is the same as most of my generation,' she says.
'He was a man of our times, and I could always relate to him. His courage in suffering was what inspired me the most, and the way he just kept going,' says Anna, a disability support worker.
She attended Catholic College, in the Murray River border town of Wodonga, in the Sandhurst diocese, before studying education – on the other side of the river – at Charles Sturt University, Albury. She went on to teach in both the Catholic and state systems, but felt called to help people. She has been in her new role for 18 months.
It was the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005, and the subsequent outpouring of grief from the universal Church, that prompted Anna to reconsider the faith she had been baptised into as a teenager but had never practised.
Her father, then Protestant, now atheist, wanted baptism to be her decision. 'He thought we needed to be free to make our own choices,' Anna says. 'I always knew there was something missing, and at 15 I decided to take the plunge.'
She was baptised but did not progress to her other sacraments. But when Pope John Paul II died, and the faithful flocked to St Peter’s Square chanting ‘Santo Subito’ – ‘a saint now’ – 'I thought: "There must be something in this, there must be something to this faith".’
'The weekend that Pope John Paul II died was the first time I went to Mass since my baptism. I loved it, and it started something that kept going for a few years.'