All of us at the Society of the Little Flower who read the letter below were touched by this fascinating story. Tom e-mailed his story to our web site www.littleflower.org. I am eager to share this wonderful letter with you; perhaps it will inspire you to share your stories of faith in St. Therese. You can always send letters to Editor, c/o BETWEEN FRIENDS, 1313 Frontage Road, Darien, IL 60561-5340.
Mrs. Mary Burd, Editor
While surfing the web I came upon your site. I want to share my story of St. Therese. Back in 1963 I was a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. I was flying a combat tour of duty in Vietnam. We were flying antiquated propeller driven fighters from tiny jungle airstrips. The missions were extremely dangerous—heavy ground fire, bad weather and postage stamp airstrips. In June of 1963 eighty pilots and crew arrived in Vietnam. Thirteen of these brave men were killed in combat or crashes attempting to return to our bases. At the end of our combat tour, only one pilot shot down by enemy groundfire returned home. I was the one who came back. I believe St. Therese interceded to make sure I returned home to my wife and three email children.
Before I went to Vietnam, I was twenty-seven years old and had been a jet pilot for five years. I certainly was not a candidate for any Catholic seminary; nor was I particularly religious. I’d describe myself at that time as just a run-of-the-mill Catholic. In spite of the fact that fighter pilots tend to view themselves as invincible and even Immune to death, I knew I needed spiritual help. One day while waiting for Mass to begin I picked up a small card that briefly described the humble, short life of St. Therese. I was amazed at the contrast between her life and mine. Then and there I decided to ask her to become my ambassador in heaven to intercede for me.
Soon after arriving in Vietnam, I asked the Squadron Commander if I could name one of our fighter planes. This tradition, dating back to WWI, meant pilots would paint a name, picture or symbol on the nose of the airplane. Lots of planes bore the name of girlfriends or wives. A single fighter was emblazoned with the simple phrase, “The Little Flower”. Since we never flew the same plane each day, lots of pilots flew “The Little Flower.” Many would ask, why that name? It didn’t take long before “The Little Flower” earned the reputation for an airplane always in good condition that could be counted on to get you back home. Many requested to fly “The Little Flower” and came to believe in her special intercession. I don’t really understand it, but I know my special ambassador somehow delivered me from a very desperate situation and brought me back home to my loved ones.
The number of visitors that visit the Society’s web site at www.littleflower.org continues to grow at an unbelievable pace. New information about St. Therese and the Society continues to be added, and we hope that you will also visit us on the Internet very soon.
Many of our readers would like to receive information about upcoming celebrations and novenas quickly, therefore this information is now available via e-mail. If you would like to join this group of members, please send an e-mail to”webmaster(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)littleflower.org”, and include your postal address.
As always, we thank you from our hearts for your continued support to the Society, and for your devotion to the “Little Flower.” May St. Therese always shower you with roses of love.