There is a photo of John Wayne and his son Patrick Wayne that has been spreading on social media for a long time. John crouches in front of the statue while his son, Patrick, stands. They both look with respect at the statue of the Virgin Mary.
The photo was taken in Cong, Ireland, while filming The Quiet Man.
Why this is surprising:
According to an original post on Pinterest, this photo was taken in the early 1950s during the filming of “The Quiet Man,” which was nearly three decades before John Wayne converted to the Catholic faith.
Why isn’t it surprising:
John Wayne’s first wife, Josephine, is the mother of Patrick Wayne. She prayed for many years for the conversion of her husband. When they divorced she did not want to remarry until Wayne passed away because she knew her marriage to him was still valid in the Catholic Church.
All four of their children were raised in the Catholic faith, and his grandson is even a priest!
Although we do not know the whole story behind this photograph, it is still a special and miraculous testimony of faith for the reason that Wayne converted to Catholicism just before his death.
Let us remind you, Wayne is one of the greatest legends not only of Hollywood but also of world film, and he is one of the most prolific filmmakers with over a hundred films made. Over the course of almost fifty years, he has accomplished several historical roles and has been reputed to be a great professional, disciplined and incredibly resilient. It is worth noting that in George Stevens’ film “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965) the role of St. Longinus, a Roman soldier who pierced Christ’s side with a spear on a cross, was interpreted by John Wayne.
What many people don’t know is the story of how Wayne converted to Catholicism in the last days before he died of cancer.
John Wayne was born as Marion Robert Morrison in 1907 in a small town in Iowa to a Calvinist family. He went to church, believed in God, and studied the Bible.
His first major contact with Catholicism came from his first wife, Josephine Alicie Saenz. They married in 1933 and had four children. Wayne remained a Protestant, but agreed to be married by a Catholic priest and to have their children raised as Catholics. She belonged to a different society and often organized dinners with other Hollywood Catholics, including priests and nuns. The children attended Catholic schools. In principle, he was drawn into Catholic cultural circles and spent a lot of time in Catholic churches and with Catholics.
Unfortunately, they divorced after 12 years, in 1945. However, as a Catholic, Josephine remarried only after Wayne’s death – and she constantly prayed that she would convert to Catholicism.
He married two more times, and had several extramarital affairs. With his third wife, Pilar Pallete, however, he was in the longest relationship (25 years) and married when he died.
Pilar was also a Catholic (as she was allowed to marry a man married twice, who knows). Shortly after they were married, a Catholic priest blessed their house.
Despite his relationship problems, Wayne remained a spiritual person. He writes letters to God as a way of praying. Wayne rarely went to church, but his Protestant upbringing and faith in God were among the most important things in his life- He refused to be part of the films he considered immoral at a time when immorality was accepted in Hollywood.
He also became a good friend of Archbishop Thomas Clavel, who received part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles after being expelled from his diocese of Panama in 1968. Their friendship further confirms that he wanted to join the Catholic Church.
Then, in 1979, while dying of cancer, surrounded by his family in his home, he finally made the decision to belong to the Catholic Church. He asked Archbishop Clavel to come to his house, but he was too ill to come, so he sent another bishop.
He was 72 years old at the time of his death and had died from the effects of stomach cancer. According to his grandson – Catholic priest Matthew Muñoz – John Wayne converted to the Catholic faith on the eve of his death.
the photograph was allegedly taken in 1951-1952 as claimed by the then Irish media.