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Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Fighting Father Duffy - Jim Bishop, Virginia Lee Bishop and H. Lawrence Hoffman - Vision Book #7

Fighting Father Duffy
Jim Bishop
Virginia Lee Bishop 
H. Lawrence Hoffman (Illustrator)
Vision Books
1956 First edition
LOC 56-5199


This book was one of the original Vision Books when they were published by Farrar, Straus, and Cudahy. The Vision Books Biographies now published by Ignatius Press, but this volume has not bee reprinted by them. It is the third in the series that I have read, the first was Saint Jose, Boy Cristero Martyr. The I read an old edition of Saint Pius X: The Farm Boy Who Became Pope, and this and a few others no longer in print were listed. I had previously picked up a couple of others in the series, Father Damien and St. Katharine Drexel a few years back but have not get around to reading them because I really prefer eBooks to physical because of my dyslexia. The Ignatius site lists 33 books in the series currently, but I have found at least 3 missing from that list. Which was listed in the back of the very old edition of this book that I read. I read this because I had finished the 38 books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. Those books are geared for a younger audience, and these are written for older readers and go deeper into the subject matters of each volume. 

The description of this volume is:

“A wholesome and wholehearted biography of the chaplain of ""The Fighting 69th"" follows Francis Patrick Duffy through a lifetime lived to the accompaniment of deep religious conviction, a spirited loyalty to his adopted country and an active intellectualism. Born in Coburg, Ontario, Duffy was to know a deprived youth. He went to work in his early teens but by luck he was given the opportunity to study and to become a young teacher at St. Michael's College. There he came to know Matt Fortier and when Matt went to New York to become a Jesuit, Duffy was persuaded to go there and teach and eventually joined the Order himself. His later life, as it reached its climax on the battle fields of France, was also enriched by his knowledge of the literary world in which he could count as friends, Marc Connelly and Alexander Woollcott and many such. Frank and unsentimental.”

Some later editions of this book have a subtitle of:

“A moving story of the most famous Catholic chaplain & hero of WW I”

My son and I have been fascinated by stories about military chaplains for several years now. He himself wants to serve that way when he is older. This book was a fascinating read and very hard to out down.

The chapters in this volume are:

Mill-Town Boy
A Vocation Discovered
Young Father Duffy
The Church in the Bronx
The Sixty-Ninth, New York
Ashore in France
The Regiment in Battle
From Rookies to Veterans
War in the Trenches
The Gray Line
The Battle of the Ourcq
Armistice
The Sixty-Ninth Comes Home
Father Duffy’s Pilgrimage
Time Runs Out

Father Francis P. Duffy was a Canadian American priest and soldier. He was from Cobourg Ontario. Studied at St. Michael’s in Toronto and went to the United States for further Studies. Ordained for the Diocese of New York, but in his hometown. He had graduate degrees. But he is remembered as much for his service as a military chaplain in WW I as for being a parish priest and educator. There is a monument to him in time Square in New York, in the northern triangle known as Duffy Square. Born on May 2nd, 1871 and dies June 27th 1932. Hollywood offered him 100,000 to star in a film about his life and time in the military. He turned it down preferring to stay in New York and serve his parish, his fellow veterans, and his boys. 

This story was fascinating from start to finish. It was very difficult to put down. It is an amazing story. His sincerity, his faith. His life of service to those in the parish, the community and the military is exemplary. I could not find any information and a cause of him, but based on this book and the other volumes this has led me to I could see it happening some day. A wonderful read for readers of all ages. 

By 1962 there had been 8 printings of this book. The cover had gone through three revisions of colour, with the 1962 version being a black and white version. Vision Books were “created to acquaint boys and girls from 9 to 15 with the lives of great catholic lay persons, martyrs and saints.” It looks like Ignatius only prints the ones for those who are canonized. It is a pity because this and several others I have stumbled upon would still be great reads. If you can track this down, I highly recommend it. And if you happen to have a list of the old Vision Books please share it in the comments, I have not been able to find one.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Books in the Vision Books Saints Biographies:
Bernadette, Our Lady's Little Servant 
The Cure of Ars 
Edmund Campion 
Florence Nightingale's Nuns 
Fr. Damien and the Bells 
Fr. Marquette and the Great Rivers 
Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi 
Kateri Tekakwitha 
Louis and Zelie 
Maria von Trapp and Her Musical Family 
Mother Cabrini, Missionary to the World 
Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity 
Our Lady Came to Fatima 
Saint Anthony and the Christ Child 
Saint Benedict 
Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal 
Saint Dominic and the Rosary 
Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns 
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas 
Saint Helena and the True Cross 
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus 
Saint Isaac and the Indians 
Saint Joan 
Saint John Bosco 
Saint Katherine Drexel 
Saint Louis and the Last Crusade 
Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart 
Saint Therese and the Roses 
Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars 
Saint Thomas More of London 
Vincent De Paul: Saint of Charity 
Out of Print books in the Series:
John Carroll Bishop and Patriot


For all reviews and articles about Military Chaplains click here.











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