Vittoria Ianni, a Roman street cleaner’s daughter. Overhearing two nuns talk about the pope’s early years of poverty in Poland, she felt a sudden desire to have him perform her upcoming wedding. This is not something that popes generally do. But when John Paul visited the outdoor manger that the city street cleaners set up every Christmas, Vittoria stepped up and made her request. To everyone’s astonishment, the pope said yes.
She and Mario Maltese were married in the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel in February 1979. Twenty-five years later, the couple returned, with their three grown children, for a private audience with Pope John Paul.