This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23 -- Feast of Blessed Maria Rafaela Cimatti

This is a ramble (rather than a story) about two generals, a priest, and a nun. 

Four stars and an A -- the real George Patton
General George S. Patton, the brilliant if brutal American tank commander during World War II, was religiously unusual.  He rang the bell on the profanity scale and yet read his Bible and prayed "every God-damned day."  He was a devout Episcopalian, but believed in reincarnation.  When in Sicily, he enjoyed attending Mass regularly.  And he once famously asked a chaplain in his army to write a weather prayer so that the Army Air Corps could couter-attack German forces in the Battle of the Bulge.

Gen/Fr. James H O'Neill
The Roman Catholic priest who wrote the prayer, Col. James Hugh O'Neill, eventually rose to the rank of Brigadier General.  [Thus, I suppose this is a ramble about three generals and a nun.]  Father O'Neill's account of writing the prayer and Training Letter No. 5, which instructed the men of Third Army about the importance of prayer during wartime, can be read here

Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring, or Smiling Albert as the Allies called him, was the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) commander during the invasions of Poland, France, and the USSR, as well as during the Battle of Britain.  He was also the overall commander of German forces in the Mediterranean, including North Africa and Italy.  I guess that made him Rommel's boss for a little while.  It certainly made him Patton's adversary a couple of times.