Dead Poets, Patriots And Saints
©2014 Mike Church
Mandeville, LA – Browse over to most any website or magazine cover at the grocery store checkout and you’ll see headlines that promote the decadent lifestyles of “the rich and famous.” From surgically enhanced body parts to lavish, multi-million dollar homes, we’re constantly bombarded with just how awesome it must be to have things only the elite can afford. Right next to these stories are equally shocking headlines of those who USED to have things but now are just fat, broke and average like most of us. “Wow, that guy had it all and blew it” is what most people say to those “smack-downs”. The tragic death of actor Robin Williams is the latest example of the rich and famous who seemingly had “everything” but exited this life with little more than dozens of unanswered questions surrounding his suicide.
“Saint Henry Walpole was a convert, a seminarian, a priest, an army chaplain, a seminary vice-rector, a preacher, a lawyer, a poet and a missionary all in his short 37 years. For those praying earnestly for the conversion of a friend or relative, Saint Henry is your man. He had the most dramatic conversion experience – being splattered with the blood of a martyr. Saint Henry also brings great strength and comfort to seminarians and college rectors. He is an ideal saint to pray to for the success of the English seminaries both home and abroad in fostering courageous, orthodox and pious men capable of converting a secular country. In these worrying days of pernicious laws curbing the Catholic Church’s role in public life and attacking the sanctity of human life, lawyer Saint Henry is who we should pray to for Catholic lawyers who challenge, and who no doubt will continue, to contest laws that are an ass.”- Marsden, nearly anonymous seminarian, Yorkshire, UK
Is it any coincidence then that those who leave “something” besides cash and digital recordings behind, seldom make those magazine covers or our collective memories? For example, American patriot Nathan Hale is believed to have said at his British execution. “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” Hale’s execution inspired George Washington to forego similar treatment of captured spies. Saint Edmund Campion was executed by Queen Elizabeth in 1581 for refusing to denounce the Pope. During the ghastly “drawn and quartered” part of his execution, Campion’s blood splashed on the coat of young poet Henry Walpole. 14 years later, Saint Henry Walpole was also martyr’d by Elizabeth. Walpole still inspires young people to become Jesuits. Then there’s actor & Purple Heart winner James Garner who will always be the anti-hero Jim Rockford to me. Garner died of natural causes 3 weeks ago with his wife of 56 years at his side. Garner once said that he “was a Methodist, but not of the acting kind.”
How very memorable and un-tabloid of him.