A woman named Joanne left a beautiful account of how the pope affected her life as a comment on one of the posts. I'm posting it here so that it will stand out more. If anyone else has any personal stories or remembrances about the pope they would like posted, just leave them as a comment and I'll transfer it to a post (or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org).
From Joanne: He is the Pope who prayed me back into full practice of my faith. After my connection became tenuous in my twenties, I saw him on TV, praying in a Marian chapel in Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark, my home diocese. I saw the joy in the people around him, and in my heart I heard a call to come home come home to the joy that was my birthright. And I started going to Mass again. Then I made the brave move and walked through the velvet curtain into a confessional (after more than a decade away) and looked myself in the face again. I feel deeply indebted to him in a personal way.He is a little older than my dad. I think that I am beginning to feel the burden of that great generation's imminent passing. He makes me proud to be Catholic. I can't bear the thought of losing him, but it is so painful to see how he suffers. What it cost him in the last few public appearances just to raise his hand to bless us.