Fr. Lafleur’s body was never found, but a shrine and monument exist at St. Landry Catholic Church, where he grew up. Each year Mass is celebrated in honor of his life around the date of his death.
Bishop Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette opened Fr. Lafleur’s cause for canonization Sept. 5, 2020.
Fr. Lafleur was recognized in a keynote to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, on June 6, 2017, by Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the military archdiocese, who said: “He was a man for others right to the end… Father Lafleur responded to his POW situation with creative courage. He drew on his virtue to care for, protect, and fortify the men imprisoned with him.”
“Many survived because he was a man of virtue who gave unstintingly of himself. To speak of the greatness of our country is to speak of men and women of virtue who gave of themselves for the benefit of all. We build for a new tomorrow when we draw from that wellspring of virtue.”
Brother Marinus LaRue was also involved in military efforts during an American war.
Born Jan. 14, 1914, LaRue attended the Pennsylvania Nautical School. After his graduation in 1934, he served as the U.S. Merchant Marine Captain of the SS Meredith Victory during the Korean War.
LaRue was tasked with delivering military supplies to a port in Hungnam, North Korea, where hundreds of thousands of soldiers and refugees were searching for safety from advancing communist forces.
Arriving before Christmas, LaRue came to discover the multitudes of people who were awaiting help. LaRue chose to unload almost all of the ship’s weapons and supplies, in order to provide space for as many refugees as possible on the ship.
The USS Meredith Victory, which was designed to serve around 50 passengers, sailed away from the coast with approximately 14,000 refugees.
Father Pawel Tomczyk, postulator for LaRue’s the canonization cause said, “the fact that he was able to rescue so many without losing a single life” was inspiring.
LaRue later discerned a religious vocation and entered St. Paul’s Benedictine Abbey in Newton, New Jersey in 1954, taking the name Brother Marinus in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
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Brother Marinus lived a humble life, dishwashing, working in a gift shop, and serving his brother monks.
“This is the uniqueness of this cause in that he was one man but almost had two lives,” Fr. Tomczyk told CNA. “He combines the two vocations: One as a lay person, as a successful captain of a ship, and then the latter part of his life as a religious monk-as a Benedictine, a man of prayer and simplicity.”
Brother Marinus died Oct. 14, 2001. Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson issued a decree opening Brother Marinus’ cause March 25, 20