Tuesday 10 August 2010
A teacher in the USA tells how a salesman who needed her signature called to the school. When he produced his pen, she noticed that a Rosary beads had got caught onto the pen’s clip and came out as well. “You must be a Catholic,” she remarked.
“Not really,” he said, “but a lot of us owe our lives to Our Lady, and I promised Her I would always keep my Rosary with me and say it every day.”
The story that unfolded ran: It was May, 1940, and we joined the Air Force in late September. At Halifax, we were given an intensive training course, because we were needed overseas. We were grouped into squadrons each of which consisted of six to ten planes, and each was trained to maneuver as a unit. About thirty to fifty men made up a squadron, along with the squadron leader who gave all the orders and kept us functioning in unity.
They told us that we were going overseas and would be in action right away. We would be on nightly missions over enemy territory. We eagerly awaited our new squadron leader. As an officer he would, we believed, go straight to the officers’ quarters. However, this squadron leader, Stan Fulton, in full uniform, headed for our bunk house, where he settled in with the rest of us, saying, “There’s a free bunk and I am tired! I’ll meet each of you tomorrow. We’re going to spend some dangerous hours together, but let’s hope we all meet back here when it’s over.” With that, he threw his bag on an upper bunk.
Our squadron leader, an officer, sleeping here with us! We liked him at once and our liking and our admiration grew each day. That first night he knelt on the floor and prayed his Rosary in silence. Astounded, we were struck dumb. When he finished, he looked at us with his friendly smile and said, “I hope you guys don’t mind a fellow saying some prayers because where we’re going, we’re going to need them.”
Next day at maneuver practice, we found that Fulton was not just our military leader, but our friend. He was one of us. He never tried to intimidate with his rank. Next night, he repeated his prayer session. Although our group had been together for six months at least, I had never seen an one kneel in prayer, and had no idea that any of our group was Catholic. The third night three of our companions joined Fulton in saying the Rosary. The rest of us did not understand, but we kept a respectful silence. We were weren’t slow however on the pick-up. Soon we were all answering the Hail Marys and Our Fathers. So, we ended each day in prayer.
Shortly enough we were to begin a series of night raids from England over Germany. The evening before, Fulton gave each of us a Rosary. “We shall be in some tight situations, but if you agree to keep the Rosary with you and to say it, I promise you that Our Lady will bring you all back safe.”
“Sure thing” we replied, little thinking we would be in action for four years, often in dreadful danger. At such times, Fulton’s voice would ring through each plane, “Hail Mary...”and we would devoutly respond! We must have said hundreds of Rosaries in the skies. Ours, was the only squadron that had not lost a plane or a single life. We said nothing, but we treasured our secret weapon.
During those years, we lost all sense of excitement and adventure. All that concerned us was survival! We did survive, too. All returned to Canada in 1945, fully convinced that Our Lady had taken care of us. So I never forget to keep my Rosary with me and say it every day although I am not a Catholic. When I change my trousers, the first thing I transfer, even before my wallet, is my Rosary.
The author of this article