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Great story on Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun August 9, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Interior Life, Saints.

Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun was a US Army Chaplain during WWII and Korea.  He perished in a communist prison camp in N. Korea in 1951.  TFP Student Action has a very nice post on his virtue and sacrifice:

The night of November 1 was quiet.  Fr. Kapaun’s battalion, having suffered some 400 casualties among its roster of 700 soldiers, was placed in a reserve position.  Chinese troops, however, had infiltrated to within a short distance of them.  Suddenly, just before midnight, there was a cacophony of bugles, horns and whistles, as the enemy attacked from all sides.

Fr. Kapaun scrambled among foxholes, sharing a prayer with one soldier, saying a comforting word to another.  He assembled many wounded in an abandoned log dugout.  All the next day, he scanned the battlefield and, some 15 times, when he spotted a wounded soldier would crawl out and drag the man back to the battalion’s position.  By day’s end, the defensive perimeter was drawn so tightly that the log hut and the wounded it contained were outside of it.  As evening came and another attack was imminent, the chaplain left the main force for the shelter so that he could be with the wounded.  It was soon overrun, and Fr. Kapaun pleaded for the safety of the injured.  Approximately three-quarters of the men in the battalion had been killed or captured.

Hundreds of U.S. prisoners were marched northward over snow-covered crests.  Whenever the column paused, Fr. Kapaun hurried up and down the line, encouraging the men to pray, exhorting them not to give up.  When a man had to be carried or be left to die, Fr. Kapaun, although suffering from frostbite himself, set the example by helping to carry a makeshift stretcher.  Finally, they reached their destination, a frigid, mountainous area near the Chinese border.  The poorly dressed prisoners were given so little to eat that they were starving to death.

For the men to survive they would have to steal food from their captors.  So, praying to St. Dismas, the “Good Thief,” Fr. Kapaun would sneak out of his hut in the middle of the night, often coming back with a sack of grain, potatoes or corn.  He volunteered for details to gather wood because the route passed the compound where the enlisted men were kept, and he could encourage them with a prayer, and sometimes slip out of line to visit the sick and wounded.  He also undertook tasks that repulsed others, such as cleaning latrines and washing the soiled clothing of men with dysentery.

Fr. Kapaun’s faith never wavered.  While he was willing to forgive the failings of prisoners toward their captors, he allowed no leeway in regard to the doctrines of the Church.  He continually reminded prisoners to pray, assuring them that in spite of their difficulties, Our Lord would take care of them.  As a result of his example, some 15 of his fellow prisoners converted to the Catholic Faith.

He allowed no leeway with the Doctrine of the Church, and for his adherence to this Doctrine and great practice of the virtues, Fr. Kapaun convinced 15 men to convert to the Faith. 

Truth, and Charity.  Those are the cornerstones of the house built upon rock.


1. Bob - August 11, 2011

Two Hearts (where I brought mine – it’s a great store in Plano) has the DVD titled “The Miracle of Father Kapaun”. I watched it two or three Sundays ago, and it is impressive. Boys between 8 and 18 will enjoy it, as will adult men. If you have served in any branch of the Armed Forces, you will enjoy his story even more. One good priest can make a difference.

2. Melinda Fulwood - August 12, 2011

What a blessing to my soul. Thank you.

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