Buchnummer des Verkäufers
Inhaltsangabe: Patriot Priest tells one man's personal experience over several epochs and areas of history. It is also, in part the story of one unique individual, author Patricia Daly-Lipe's great uncle, Msgr. William A Hemmick. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, and raised in Europe, he became fluent in five languages. When the First World War broke out, he felt committed to help the troops. After the war, he was proclaimed the Patriot Priest of Picardy by the Army and Navy. After years spent in Paris, William Hemmick was asked by the Vatican to come to Rome. Ultimately he became the only American Canon of St. Peter's representing the Knights of Malta to the Holy See.
It was he who performed the nuptials of American film star Tyrone Power and Linda Christian. He also converted the future Queen Astrid of Belgium.
From the Author:
The skies were overcast withgloom and mortar fire. The sounds were sometimes deafening. But Father Hemmick wasnot there to complain. He was there to help. Men and boys were defending theirhomes, their families, their country. It wasn't Father Hemmick's country, buthe had spent years living in Europe and felt a strong connection to what washappening.
"We are one people," he explainedto his family and friends. "We believe in individual rights. It is not aquestion of nationality, ethnicity, not even of race, education or religiousbeliefs. It is a question of each person having the right to live inpeace." So the young priest, who had been ordained only a few years, wentacross the ocean from the United States, where peace persisted, to Paris,France, where war dictated the daily routine for everyone.
April 29,1918, William wrote the following to his mother:
Mother dear--It seems as if hellitself were let loose; the roar of the battle is so terrific. I am scrawlingthis in a cave right near our front lines. Several Officers share it with meand we sleep on straw, and live the lives of moles. I came with this regimentbecause they wanted a Priest and I had no one to send. Never in all my lifehave I put in such days of horror. We are constantly under shell fire day andnight. I don't know which is worse. The strain is something terrible. Atmidnight the food wagons come by and we get a hot stew and coffee as most ofthe men's work is done at night and we sleep during the day if we can. Then atdusk I crawl out and go to bury the dead in a deserted garden by a ruinedhouse. There are no coffins even, but just a big trench and there the poormangled bodies of our men are laid, and I hurriedly read the funeral serviceover them and sprinkle them with Holy Water. I seem to be sort of numb with horrorand the tragedy of it, but manage to get through it somehow. The battle israging all about of us and it sounds like the crack of doom. God knows when theoutcome of it will be. Our men are splendid, courageous, and enduring and areputting up a splendid fight and I am glad to have a chance to be with them andhelp them. ...I know you are wondering how I can stand such a life andI wonder myself, but somehow manage to pull through though I feel the strain.But when there is work to be done one can't stop to think of self. If I everget out of this I will go somewhere to rest. It is a study in the book of lifesure enough; even in this den where we live the cellar of a ruined house likeno immigrants you ever saw there is a beautiful spirit of unselfishness andcomradeship. There are three officers here and myself and we have two forks,three spoons, and a knife to say nothing of cups and glasses and here by lightof a candle we gather around a table from twelve to three A.M. o'clock and makemerry over a dish of stew and some awful coffee. We had quite a treat yesterdayas I found I had some chocolate with me. I am getting used to things by degreesalthough suffering a little from shock. The ruin and desolation all about arebeyond words as a perfect hailstorm of shells is falling. The tragic prevails,of course, as they bring the dead and wounded by on stretchers. They give themthe first dressing here and send them on to different hospitals. Certainly it isan experience never to be forgotten. If I should be taken in the performance ofduty I know you and Gov. and the family would not have me do otherwise. Godbless you and keep you all. ... Good Bye Mother darling - best love to you eachand all. Affect. Will
My great uncle was born inPittsburg, Pennsylvania in 1886, but when he was three, the family moved toSwitzerland where his father, Col. Roland Hemmick, was made the American ConsulGeneral in Geneva. The family grew and ultimately, William was one of sevenbrothers and one sister, my grandmother. After several years at the Jesuit collegeStella Matutina in Austria, he completed his studies in Canada where the familyhad a home in Port Hope, Ontario.
Roland Hemmick was born inAlexandria, Virginia and had family in Baltimore as well. One good friend wasCardinal Gibbons. In 1903, the Cardinal was requested to be made a member ofthe diocese of Baltimore and, as such, to obtain William his "excardination"so he might be recommended as a student for a six year course at the AmericanCollege in Rome. The Cardinal was happy to comply.
Sadly, after only a shorttime at the American College, young William became ill. Physicians were calledand, after checking him carefully, they proceeded to give him the sad news.William had contracted Tuberculosis of the most virulent sort and was notexpected to live more than a couple of months. Of course, William wanted toreturn to his parents immediately. But first, the school rector, Dr. Kennedy,arranged that he have an audience with the Holy Father, Pope Pius X. Dr.Kennedy himself took young William to the Vatican and, having first told thepope in private of the circumstances, ushered the student into the pope's chambers.
The pope smiled at Williamtenderly as the young man knelt to kiss the papal ring. Then he lifted theboy's chin, looked at him straight in the eye, and said, "Don't worry now.You are going to be all right. Go home and get rested and well." Then thepope placed his hand on William's head and said, "One day you will be backhere." Years later, not only did William recover, he was ordained andultimately called down to Rome. But even more remarkable, the apartment inwhich he resided in Rome, given to him by the Principessa Doria in the PalazzoDoria was the very apartment in which Pope Pius X had lived prior to becomingPope.
In 1911, William Hemmick, nowa student at Catholic University, was ordained by Cardinal Gibbons sub titulo patrimonii at the Cathedral (currently the Basilica Shrine) of theAssumption in Baltimore. In 1913, for his Licentiate of Sacred Theology,William Hemmick, now Rev. Hemmick, wrote his thesis titled St. Thomas and the Greek Fathers on the Extent of Christ's HumanKnowledge.
Following graduation, Rev.Hemmick went to work at the Newman School in New Jersey as assistant rector.One of his students was F. Scott Fitzgerald. But in Europe, the Great War hadstarted. Having lived most of his life in Europe, William felt the need toreturn and help.
Prior to 1914, Pope Pius Xhad anticipated and then had seen the relentless advance of the European powerstoward war. He also understood the war would almost surely involve Catholics.But knowing he was powerless to prevent the inevitable, the pope watched insilence praying he was wrong. August 10, 1914, Pope Pius X died.
1917, the United Statesentered the war. Cardinal Gibbons had been a chaplain in the Civil War andshared some of his experiences during that war with William. Thus, when Williamrequested permission to serve the troops, Cardinal Gibbons agreed. FatherHemmick arrived in Paris August, 1917, and became Captain in the "CroixRouge." His sensitivity, his bravery, his compassion were felt by all whoknew my great uncle. Plus the letter I copied in the beginning of this articlereflects his heart felt duty to assist his fellow men.
After the war, when hereturned to Washington, great uncle William was proclaimed the "PatriotPriest of Picardy" by the Army and Navy. He returned to Paris and establishedthe American Catholic Welfare Centre for all those who had been traumatized bythe war. In 1932, he was called down to Rome ultimately becoming a Monsignorand the first Canon of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Ultimately, he became theonly American Canon of St. Peter's Basilica representing the Knights of Maltato the Holy See.
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