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Cleared of murder – then hugged by a Pope
Amaury Coutansais-Pervinquière told the incredible story of Tomasz Komenda, a Polish man who spent 18 years in jail after being wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of a teenage girl.
His mother had given him a photo of St John Paul II which he placed above his bed in his prison cell. Although an unbeliever, he started praying to the Polish pope.
“If you are a saint,” prayed Komenda, “You are in heaven with this girl. If you must take me up there, take me now. If I must be free, let me be free.” Six months later, a police officer knocked on his door – he wanted to help Komenda prove his innocence. A year later he was cleared.
Once released, he went to Rome with his parents and prayed in front of the altar where St John Paul is buried. His story reached Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, who took him to meet Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square. The family “were asked to say a few words”, Coutansais-Pervinquière wrote. “Touched by what he heard, Francis spontaneously held Komenda in his arms for a long time.”
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