The Priest and the Marine

Sunday, November 28, AD 2010

Born on January 3, 1936, one of five kids, Robert R. Brett knew from an early age what the wanted to be.    As his sister Rosemary Rouse noted, “He always wanted to be a priest. He was always there for everyone.”

He attended Saint Edmond’s and Saint Gabriel’s grade schools and then attended a preparatory seminary for high school.  Brett entered the Marist novitiate at Our Lady of the Elms on Staten Island and made his profession of vows on September 8, 1956.  Studying at Catholic University, he received a BA in philosophy in 1958 and a Master’s Degree in Latin in 1963.  He was ordained a priest of the Society of Mary in 1962 by Bishop Thomas Wade at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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6 Responses to The Priest and the Marine

  • Thank God for such men as Father Brett who hear His call and heroically carry out their vocations – zeal for the salvation of souls.

    I believe Father Brett and Cpl Chin are in the company of the saints praising God for eternity.

    But, we need men like him down here.

  • The fact that he wanted to go into harms way to administer to men that were serving their country, and dying for their country, says everything about this Priest. What a hero. What a man. If only our culture could celebrate heroes like him instead of the founder of facebook, or the next american idol, then I could have some hope for our republic.

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  • Another fine Catholic Chaplain from the U.S. Navy along with Fr. Capadano, Medal of Honor Winner.

  • The first Chaplain killed in WWII at Pearl Harbor was a Catholic Priest. Another fine example.

    Born in St. Lucas, Iowa, Fr. Schmitt studied at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He then studied in Rome for the priesthood. He was ordained on December 8, 1935. Father Schmitt was assigned to parishes in Dubuque, and one in Cheyenne, Wyoming. After four years, he received permission to become a chaplain, and joined the United States Navy. He was appointed Acting Chaplain with rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTJG) on June 28, 1939.

    Assigned to the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor
    On December 7, 1941, Fr. Schmitt was serving on board the battleship, USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. A Japanese hit caused the ship to capsize. A number of sailors, including Fr. Schmitt, were trapped in a compartment with only a small porthole as the means of escape. Fr. Schmitt helped a number of men through this porthole. When it came his time to leave, he declined and helped more men to escape. In total, he helped 12 men to escape.

    Fr. Schmitt died on board the Oklahoma. He was the first chaplain of any faith to have died in World War II.

  • Father Schmitt has been the subject of one my posts.

    As for Servant of God Capadanno, I am making my way up to him.