Military chaplains—if the person does their job correctly, they are some of the most underappreciated people in the military. John Wukovits brings his superb World War II knowledge to chronicle some of the University of Notre Dame’s clergy who served as chaplains in the U.S. military during World War II in Soldiers of a Different Cloth: Notre Dame Chaplains in World War II.
Wukovits highlights a few of the 35 clergy members from Notre Dame who served during the war. He pays particular attention to Rev. Joseph D. Barry, Rev. John E. Duffy, Rev. Henry Heintskill, and six missionaries caught in the Philippines at the beginning of the war (Sisters Mary Olivette and Mary Caecilius and Brothers Theodore Kapes and Rex Hennel, and Fathers Jerome Lawyer and Robert McKee).
Wukovits’ strength of highlighting the individual is in full display in the book.
For instance, he recounts the many sacrifices that Rev. Barry made to comfort “his boys” in the Forty-fifth Infantry Division as they invaded Sicily and trudged through Italy and beyond. Father Barry was loved by the men for his willingness to put himself in harm’s way to be with the wounded and the dying.
Not only does Wukovits capture the individual, he fits the plight of the individual perfectly within the context of the war. For example, he describes the tribulations of Fathers Duffy and Richard E. Carberry as they suffered with the thousands of other Americans and Filipinos through the Bataan Death March in the Philippines.
The book is a wonderful tribute to the men and women of Notre Dame who served during World War II, whether in combat or assisting others in enemy prison camps.