No one knew the background of the quiet brother who washed laundry and did other odd jobs for the monastery.
Then—somehow—the monks made an astounding discovery: this humble brother was the famous captain responsible for the Christmas Miracle of 1950.
Captain Leonard LaRue was thirty-six years old that bitter winter during the Korean War. His ship was a small, simple cargo ship and his job was to supply the big war ships patrolling the Hungnam waters of North Korea.
Then the call came. Nearly 200,000 U.S. soldiers and Korean refugees were trapped against the sea by advancing Chinese forces, and they needed help—now. Would anyone volunteer to evacuate them?
Captain LaRue looked at his tiny ship. He looked at his flammable cargo. He looked at the vast crowd of terrified, hopeless fugitives on the shore. Then he volunteered to help!
The tale became famous worldwide: how he navigated mine-infested waters, how he crammed 14,000 people on his tiny ship, how they sailed to safety but were refused landing and had to sail another three days before they were welcomed ashore, how no one died and five babies were born…he had saved a massive number of lives.
Four years later, Captain LaRue retired and quietly pursued a late vocation inspired by some Benedictines he’d met during the war. He chose the name Marinus to honor the Blessed Mother. He never spoke of his glorious naval career, nor did he encourage questions when his brothers discovered who he was.
He just went on washing laundry, doing odd jobs, serving the poor—and his brothers loved him for it. He died in 2001, and his cause for canonization was opened in 2019.
Brother Marinus never feared stormy waters—whether as a captain or as a monk—because he knew his life was in Our Lord’s powerful hands. Remind yourself of this comforting fact with the Storm on the Sea of Galilee Ceramic Tile. Depicting Our Lord’s peaceful repose as the sea batters the Apostles’ boat, this tile will inspire you to emulate Brother Marinus’s complete trust in God. Available today at the Catholic Company!