Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who served as John Paul's secretary from 1966 to his death in 2005, preserved the notes, the BBC reported Wednesday. A collection is now appearing in print, "Very Much in God's Hands. Personal Notes 1962-2003."
Dziwisz said that, while John Paul said publicly he wanted his notes destroyed he later told him which ones he wanted preserved.
"These notes are so important, they say so much about the spiritual side, about the person, about the great pope, that it would have been a crime to destroy them,'' the cardinal said.
The notes begin four years before Karol Wojtyla was made archbishop of Krakow and end two years before his death at 84. In 1962, he had been a bishop for four years and was a delegate to the Second Vatican Council.
Dziwisz said proceeds from the sale of the 640-page book will be used for a memorial museum.