Our Lady Of Knights
Year : 1921
“Until I have been made Your Knight, Fair Lady, I cannot be classified as a true warrior, battling for my country. Your knights are victorious! Would that each man of our Armed Forces could bear that noble title, so that we all might bravely clash with our foes and bring peace to the world once again! Queen of the Skies, Patroness of our beloved United States of America, Our Lady of the Knights of the Skies, I look to you for Victory!” This is a paragraph from a letter written by an American sergeant, Leo Lovasik; I never met him, but I know something about him.
Leo was born in Tarentum, Pennsylvania, November 13, 1921, where he spent eight years in a Catholic parochial school and received his high school diploma at a boarding school conducted by the priests of the Society of the Divine Word. Then for two years he worked in a Pennsylvania steel mill. In July, 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps. On August 30, 1943, Technical Sergeant Leo E. Lovasik died as a result of an airplane crash in the European theatre of war; like so many ordinary men who died in the service of country. But Leo was not quite an ordinary man. Of his fully equipped bomber, he wrote: “We have named the bomber ‘Valiant Virgin’, and had the title splendidly painted on the nose of it in honor of Our Blessed Lady. I am the only Catholic on the crew, and today as I knelt before her statue in the post chapel, I dedicated our bomber to her. Her eyes so mild, blended in purity and innocence, seemed to accept this tribute of honor willingly and joyfully.”
Many a time when he was up in the heavens, searing the moonlit sky, he looked through the tiny window near his radio table and reflected “upon the ravishing wonders below, given us by the Creator.” Against the radiance of the bombers’ moon, he thought he could observe Mary silhouetted as Queen of the Skies. He liked to watch as each fleecy cloud, “passing before that moon, glides (as it were) into a dip of reverence to Our Lady of the Knights of the Skies. They are her servants too. They, the clouds, even bear her pure white symbol of loveliness.”
We of this generation have been blessed abundantly with the finest of contemporaries—martyred bishops and priests, Congressional Medal of Honor winners, next-doo neighbors who, courageously and loyally above and beyond the call of duty, gave their lives for those they loved. But the U.S. as a nation is particularly fortunate to have provided the soil from whence came such a man as this sergeant. He received no congressional medal of honor. Men did not gather on street corners waving and cheering as he stood erect in an open convertible, while bands played. No streets or avenues or boulevards bear his name. Yet, despite all this he might well be as great as any of them: he had an unequaled love for his native land, and for her who is the Patroness of this Land.
Technical Sergeant Leo Lovasik was one of Mary’s Knights. She was his Lady. That is a true blueprint for great Americans. And the United States, Mary’s Land, is a better land today because of this knight and other knights of the Queen of the Skies. For always, it is men like this who bring God’s blessings down upon us who are his fellowmen. We, too, are all Mary’s Knights, if we bear on our shoulder her accolade, the badge she gave St. Simon Stock, the same she asked us at Fatima to wear, her brown scapular.
It is related of Blessed Henry Suso, another of Mary’s Knights, that he once plunged into the mud of the road to make way on the path for a poor woman. “Sir”, said she, “why should a noble gentleman like you, leave the pathway for one so humble as I?” “Don’t you know,” replied Blessed Henry, “that in you I see not only my own mother but the Blessed Lady, whose knight and servant I am, and all good womanhood, which I hold in honor and reverence? They are each another MARY to me.”