AOSUSA Star of the Sea Award - Captain Leonard LaRue
St. Paul’s Abbey — Newton, NJ
January 14, 2005
Honored Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for allowing me to be here today.
Ah-yong-ha-se-yo, my name is John Furukawa. I am the East Coast Representative to the Board and the Merchant Marine Committee Co-Chair, the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of
First of all, I’d like to thank:
The Premier of St. Paul’s Abbey, the Reverend Father Bosco
The Purser of the S.S. Meredith Victory,
Captain Robert Lunney, United States Naval Reserve (Retired),
And a special thanks to Mr. Benedict Ahn, whose efforts made this presentation possible.
I bring you greetings from the 800 Port Chaplain, Cruise Ship Priests and Mariner members of the Apostleship of the Sea:
President, the Reverend Father Sinclair Oubre, National Director,
Reverend Father John Jamnicky, Bishop
Promoter, the Most Reverend Curtis Guillory.
The Apostleship of the Sea is a "parish" for Catholic Seafarers away from home. Our mission statement is:
"to be a spiritual and theological resource of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America. The purpose of
the AOSUSA is to teach and witness to the Word of God and to serve God’s people; especially seafarers, maritime personnel and people of the sea; by fostering their growth and renewal, through prayer, study and Christian
AOSUSA works under the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugees Services Department and the Apostleship of the Sea - International. There are AOS Port Chaplains
in 65 ports throughout the U.S. and in most major ports throughout the world.
We are here to honor Captain Leonard Panet LaRue. Captain LaRue was born on January 14, 1914, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and today would have been his 91st birthday.
When AOSUSA President Father Sinclair Oubre asked me to present this award, I looked up the web site of the S.S. Meredith Victory and read about the amazing rescue voyage of 14,000
refugees and the 5 live births onboard the ship during the 4-day trip.
Here are a few interesting facts regarding the rescue mission:
The Church has its tradition of
three miracles for an individual to be beatified. I think there are 14,005 people that think that Captain LaRue and the crew of the S.S. Meredith
Victory performed 14,005 miracles 54 years ago.
I regret that I did not meet Captain LaRue and honor him during his lifetime. But I believe that Captain LaRue is enjoying his heavenly reward.
Please rise for the reading of the award:
Star of the Sea Award is presented to Captain Leonard LaRue.
On a late summer day in 1950 Captain Leonard LaRue stopped to pray for his ship, S.S. Meredith Victory, at Old St. Mary’s Church in San Francisco. Completing his prayers, he left the
church with his Staff Officer, returning to the vessel, they set sail for Asia. Arriving at Inchon, Korea, on September 15, 1950, the ship discharged her cargo and spent the next three months shuttling between Korea and Japan. In
the latter part of December, Captain LaRue received orders to sail for Hungnam, Korea. Arriving there on December 20 the vessel laid at anchor until December 22, when Captain LaRue guided her through the minefield at the mouth of
the port. Once docked, the crew began embarking Korean refugees who were fleeing from Chinese forces. The process continued for the next
14 hours when the last refugee was brought aboard at 1110 hours on December 23. By
then, 14,000 Korean refugees were packed on the freighter. Sailing from Hungnam, Captain LaRue sailed first to Pusan, arriving on December 24. Like the Bible story though, there was no room for the ship and her human cargo. From
there, Captain LaRue sailed to the island of Koje-do where the refugees were allowed to disembark on December 26, 1950. Captain LaRue and the crew of the S.S. Meredith Victory thereby affected the greatest maritime rescue
Four years later, Captain LaRue laid down his sea bag and took up the habit of a Benedictine Brother, and then named Brother Marinus at the Abbey of St. Paul in Newton, New Jersey. For the
next 47 years he dedicated his life to prayer, service to the community, and those who visited the Abbey’s gift shop. In recognition of the great Christian seamanship of Captain LaRue, and the dedicated life of prayer and
hospitality of Brother Marinus, the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America bestows this very special honor.
Reverend Sinclair Oubre, J.C.L.
President Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America
Most Reverend Curtis Guillory, S.V.D., D.D.
Bishop Promoter Apostleship of the Sea
Kam-sami-da and God Bless Captain Leonard LaRue and the crew of the S.S. Meredith Victory.