WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- A Polish survivor of a Nazi concentration camp published a book Tuesday recollecting her family's relationship and vacations with Pope John Paul II, including letters from the late pontiff.
Wanda Poltawska, an 87-year-old psychiatrist, said the relationship started in the 1950s when she sought out a priest for spiritual support so she could overcome the trauma she suffered during almost four years at the Ravensbrueck concentration camp.
That priest was Karol Wojtyla, who was elected pope in 1978.
Poltawska's 570-page book, "The Beskidy Mountains Recollections," recalls vacations with Wojtyla and includes letters of spiritual guidance he exchanged with her and her family — a correspondence that continued after he became pope.
Poltawska remembers a first joint vacation in 1962, a roughly weeklong mountain trek during which the Rev. Wojtyla celebrated Masses on fallen trees or in out-of-the-way cottages.
Wojtyla offered profuse thanks to Poltawska's family in a letter shortly afterward, writing that the trip was "perfectly ... planned and carried out — and I think also led from on high."
Poltawska said the pope invited her family to the Vatican shortly after his election. Her book includes a letter from Oct, 20, 1978, four days after he was elevated to the papacy.
"I am very happy that you are coming here," it says. "I hope I will be able to meet you not in a group but in a `family' way, even if briefly."
"I thank God that he gave me so much calm," during the election, the letter added.
The family met the pope at the Vatican three days later, and returned several times later in his papacy.
In other letters, he offered occasional comments on his papal encyclicals.
Poltawska said at a news conference Tuesday that she told the pontiff of her experience working with troubled families.
John Paul died in 2005. Moves toward his beatification and canonization began that year, as Pope Benedict XVI waived the five-year waiting period after a candidate's death.
Poltawska said, in deciding to publish her book, she was "encouraged by other people who said that I must give this testimony of the life of a saint."
There are no immediate plans for non-Polish editions of the book.
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