Many years ago as a young man I read an inspiring book to which I was drawn by its title: Our Lady’s Knight: The True Story of Technical Sergeant Leo E. Lovasik. I do not have the book in hand but it is available from Amazon and other booksellers. I remember how inspired I was by this biography of a valiant US army pilot who fought in World War II. His life was short, a mere twenty-two years. His plane was shot down by the Germans in 1943 and he was killed in the explosion. The pilots, back then, were allowed to decal their aircraft and give it a name. Sargeant Lovasik christened his, Our Lady’s Knight.
The book was written by his brother, a priest, and prolific author, Father Lawrence Lovasik. More on him in a moment.
What I remember about the story of Leo Lovasik was his purity and devotion to Mary. He had dedicated himself to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart and said the Rosary daily. His example had its effect on his fellow soldiers who greatly respected him. Since I am recalling from memory and am unsure of further factual details, I will stop here and encourage the reader to get this book. It would be a perfect gift for anyone close to you who is in the armed services. It would be a great book for anyone, period.
Not long after I read Our Lady’s Knight I was doing some missionary work in Pittsburgh, selling books, for Saint Benedict Center. I met a good Catholic man who owned a liquor store. He was happy to hear about the work we were doing, took some books, and made a generous donation. Then, he smiled and said proudly, “You know my brother writes Catholic books.” I said, “Really, who is he?” He said, “Father Lawrence Lovasik.”
Father Lovasik is most known for writing simple devotional books for the young. But he also wrote scholarly books, lucid, very traditional, and easy to read, on various theological and moral subjects. In all, he wrote thirty books and over seventy treatises on the Faith and Our Lady. He said that his mission was “make God more known and loved through my writings.” The beauty of simplicity, is it not? Here is a list of some of Father works:
The Hidden Power of Kindness (we have it in our bookstore)
Clean Love in Courtship
Catholic Marriage and Child Care
The Eucharist in Catholic Life
My Picture Missal
The Works of Mercy
The Picture Book of Saints (His best seller)
Our Lady in Catholic Life
In his dedication of the last mentioned work, he wrote:
“To Mary Immaculate, The Mother of God and Our Mother,
Through whose intercession I have been privileged to become a missionary priest (August 14, 1938) and to found the Congregation of the Sisters of the Divine Spirit (August 22, 1955), in memory of the hundredth anniversary of her apparitions at Lourdes (1858-1958), when she declared, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception,’ as a tribute of sincerest gratitude and love, I dedicate this work.”
Last year, James Day wrote a worthy tribute to Father Lovasik (1913-1986) for Catholic Exchange. Just as the holy priest and author loved anecdotes, so does Mr. Day. He begins his article, “Fr. Lovasik, a Prolific Humility,” with one:
“In second grade Religion class, our school principal, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame, sat in to observe one morning. Our teacher, Sr. Rosemary, asked us, “What is a homily?” My heart leaped—this was too good to be true. With the principal waiting expectantly for a reply from someone, I shot my hand up. Immediately called upon, I could barely contain myself:
‘The homily is the priest explaining how to put the words of the Gospel into practice.’” Read the full article here.