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Local Catholics Remember Pope John Paul II’s St. Louis Visit

Fred Bodimer
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A tapestry depicting the late Pope John Paul II hangs on the balcony of St Peter's basilica on April 25, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The late Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be canonised on Sunday 27 April, inside the Vatican when 800,000 pilgrims from around the world are expected to attend. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A tapestry depicting the late Pope John Paul II hangs on the balcony of St Peter’s basilica on April 25, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. The late Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII will be canonised on Sunday 27 April, inside the Vatican when 800,000 pilgrims from around the world are expected to attend. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

fred-bodimer Fred Bodimer
Fred Bodimer joined KMOX in 1982 after graduating from the University...
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s a big weekend for Catholics around the world.

Sunday’s canonization of two former popes as saints has many local Catholics remembering Pope John Paul II’s 1999 visit to St. Louis.

KMOX Religion Editor Fred Bodimer spoke with one person who has a treasured keepsake from the event.

One night back in January 1999 when the Pope went to sleep in St. Louis, a relic was made.

Elizabeth Westhoff with the St. Louis Archdiocese says the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George were assigned to the Archbishop’s residence cook and clean for John Paul II stayed during his short visit.

“Some of the sisters took the pillowcases that he had slept on, and started cutting them into little pieces and affixing them to holy cards, prayer cards that had his image and a prayer, and then laminating those,” she says.

Westhoff has one of the cards as a keepsake.

“It’s amazing to know that he will be sainted this weekend, and now I have this amazing piece of history, both of St. Louis, as well as the Archdiocese and the universal church,” she says.

To qualify as a relic, an object needs only to have been in physical contact with the saint during his or her lifetime. The Church says relics cannot be sold, though many alleged relics can be found for sale online.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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