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A dramatic encounter with my mother that saved the life of Pope John Paul II

By Roger Trudeau - LeBlanc

We never know how God will use us in His divine providence to accomplish His will, but we do know His providence in how things unfold. God used my mother to save the life of Pope John Paul II through a series of events that led up to the day he was shot.

My Mother, Claire LeBlanc, (photo top right), had been leading pilgrimages to Rome since 1970. In advance of her trips, Cardinal Medeiros of Boston would write to the Vatican to arrange for a group pass to the Papal audience that would be waiting for her upon her arrival.

In all the years she went to Rome she never took her copy of the Cardinal's letter, except for her last trip before she died. As the car began to leave for the airport she had them stop. Something impelled her to get out of the car and get her copy of the Cardinal's letter. In light of the events that took place while she was in Rome, upon her return we asked her what impelled her to get her copy of the Cardinal's letter. She could not explain it, except to say that she knew she needed to bring her copy of the letter, she was impelled to bring it with her. Divine Providence would make it crystal clear why she needed her copy the day the Pope was shot.

When she arrived in Rome she was surprised to learn the original letter from Cardinal Medeiros had never arrived at the Vatican.    This was the first and only time the Cardinal's letter had never arrived to arrange for her group pass in all the years she went. Fortunately, voila, she had her copy which was acknowledged by Vatican personnel, and they decided to give my mother and her group a place along the fence where the Pope would be driving by for the inconvenience. They were told that sometimes people at the railing get to touch the Holy Father's hand when he passes by in the car, and in fact, my mother, my aunt and others did get to touch his hand when he passed by in the car. But something happened before the Pope arrived at the place where they were standing.

People who are not with a group at times will try to mingle with a group that is going in for a Papal audience, which is what happened with my mother's group when she went in to take her place. A man mingled with her group and made his way to the fence and stood next to my mother, between my mother and my Aunt Louise. As one might expect, he was not welcome. My mother turned and looked at this man and said "I don't think so," and rather than letting the situation get out of hand she leaned in front of him and said to my Aunt "Louise, get him out of here". My aunt, a retired nurse, had cared for and handled men that suffered emotional trauma from war, so she was not afraid to deal with a situation. She obliged my mother's request without hesitation by turning him around and giving him a smack in the chest that was accompanied with a tapestry of things she said to him in Italian. after she chased him back she returned to the railing and stood next to my mother. The Holy Father came by. touched my mother's hand (and others in her group) and went a little further down the line which is when the man my mother just sent back into the crowd pulled out a gun and shot the Pope. It was Ali Agca who was standing between my mother and my aunt at the railing. Had Agca remained between my mother and my aunt he would have had point blank range on the Pope. My mother and my aunt touched the Pope's hand and instead of touching the Pope's hand he would have pulled out the gun and could not have missed. The Holy Father would have died that day and history would be very different this day. .

When Agca took his shots, a little nun standing next to him went for his legs to make a tackle, and he went down when the crowds moved in on him. He could have shot her, but he messed with the Pope and he was going down. From what I was told they practically had to tear her off of him. He was not getting a second chance. The next day the Vatican cited the little Nun for bravery. Some years later I was talking to a man who became a priest who was in the secret service for the US at the time the Holy Father was shot. He told me they had intelligence that there would be an attempt on the Pope's life. He said he was there, at the Vatican and they had .45 Caliber with half loads to minimize the damage to pilgrims in case shots had to be fired. He was saying they had all the best intel, security, etc., and in spite of it all, God used my mother to save the Pope's life that day. He was amazed at how providence planned the day.

When my mother returned to Boston, various news media came to interview her and ran the story about what happened with my mother and Ali Agca. Click Here for one of the articles in the local Newspapers. I was there when Tom Ellis, a News Anchor from WCVB Channel 5 in Boston, came to interview my mother at her home. Anyone who wishes to confirm this Television interview with Tom Ellis can contact WCVB Channel 5 in Boston. You would need to contact the archives at WCVB and request it from the archives. Other media ran the story as well.

Years later I was thinking of what happened that day in Rome, and I thought back on what Our Lady of Fatima had said to the children of Fatima, namely, that the Pope would suffer. The Pope they prayed for would bring to Fatima one of the bullets that struck him, and he had it placed in Mary's crown. And I'm stunned to realize that Our Lady who spoke to the children of Fatima so long ago about this event would use my mother in such a momentus display of providence that would save the life of the Pope the day he was shot. It's been said the path of the bullet miraculously changed after it struck the Pope, and this would be known by the angle of trajectory from where Agca was forced to shoot after my mother had him sent back into the crowd. This dramatic encounter brings home the realization that God can and does use all things that may seem innocuous to us in the moment, but serve His purpose, even if we don't see them unfold as it did for my mother that day in Rome.

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