Patriot Priest

PATRIOT PRIEST tells one man’s personal experience over several epochs and areas of history. It is also in part, the story of one unique individual, author Patricia Daly-Lipe’s great uncle Msgr. William A. Hemmick. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, and raised in Europe, he became fluent in five languages. When the first World War broke out, he felt committed to help the troops. After the war, he was proclaimed the Patriot Priest of Picardy by the Army and Navy.



After years spent in Paris, William Hemmick was asked by the Vatican to come to Rome. Ultimately, he became the only American Canon of St. Peter’s Representing the Knights of Malta to the Holy See.

It was he who performed the nuptials of American film star Tyrone Power and Linda Christian. He also converted the future Queen Astrid of Belgium. Although, many stories and famous people permeate Hemmick’s life through the events of both world wars, this is not only the story of one individual. It is a personal glimpse at an epic era in history, from WWI to Paris between the wars, to WWII and its aftermath.

Reviews for Patriot Priest

What made Patricia Daly-Lipe’s documentary of her Great Uncle’s life and achievements important to me was, it included her own personal investigation, quotes, letters and wisdom into major events happening from WW1 to WW2 which made real by its connection and participation of this great man, Monsignor William A. Hemmick.
Patricia’s deep investigations put together her documentation in a creative and interesting way that seemed not structured off of someone else’s outside view of history, but her own. So much of this was built on Msgr. Hemmick’s letters and communications to his famous friends, so many friends some in the Vatican, also famous monarchs, people in the art world, Royalty, writers and even actors of the day. These first-hand accounts of the terror, horror and devastation mixed in with real observations of truly sensitive lives that had to go on living in these years of darkness and wars, sometimes with a sense of humor, was powerful.
For me, these first-hand accounts brought the historical events into a new dimension of reality that made Mussolini’s reign and end clearly laid out…as well as Hitler’s deceptions, manipulations and violence he used in pursuing his methodical move towards totalitarianism, a world conquering vision. All this was to be opened up for someone like myself in a down-in-the-trenches view of the guts and blood of this ideological, diabolical terror of Nazism, Totalitarianism, Fascism and then Communism.
In Chapter 34 all of this dark insanity is applied with a wide brush to create a painting of what looms ahead for today’s leaders with what seems to be a mad rush to repeat those sins of the past; the death, destruction, caused by the thirst for world dominance. Will that thing, that devilishly thing that hides in people’s souls ever be driven out for good? [O]r will it be repeated again and again?
Pat also explored more recent world events with the assassination of President Kennedy, the effects of Vatican II and much more.
On a positive note, Patricia gave great stories of her time in Rome, Palaces, Chateau’s and meeting all sorts of famous persons.
Monsignor William A. Hemmick entered the scene through both world wars and with amazing God given good will and helps, did a major part to instill peace and faith in men’s hearts…the only lasting solution.
This was a good book.
                                                                                                                  Charles Brockmeyer

Patriot Priest: The Story of Monsignor William A. Hemmick, The Vatican’s First American Canon (Rock Hill, SC: Strategic Media Books, 2013), softcover, table of contents, bibliography, notes, 270 pp. This is the biography of the author’s great-uncle, Msgr. William Hemmick (1886-1971). Born in Pittsburgh, he was raised in Europe and was pro- claimed “The Patriot Priest of Picardy” for his actions in World War I. He became successively the first American canon of two Roman basilicas – St. Mary Major and St. Peter’s. Hemmick was also a representative of the Knights of Malta to the Holy See. He converted the future Queen Astrid of Belgium, and officiated at the Roman marriage of Hollywood actor Tyrone Power and starlet Linda Christian
This moving publication had me walking through the life of Patricia Daly-Lipe's great uncle. What a remarkable gift she has given people in her research and telling of this story. This is a wonderfully written and compassionate work that anyone interested in duty, history, and the makings of a war should invest their time in. This young man lived through the worst humanity displayed toward another human being. To say that we learn from history so as to not repeat it in the present has left many to wonder if this is true as we look around the world in present day. The context of the war has a person contemplating the realities of where our country finds itself currently. For families who are living with loved ones in the military and in harm's way--we again have to wonder about the validity of the many conflicts around the world and whether or not we should be there.
Reviewed by Laura H. (Reader)

More Reviews

Patricia’s book Patriot Priest has been awarded the New York Book Award and the Global Book Award


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I read your encomium to your uncle and enjoyed it immensely. An extraordinary amount of thought and research went into the biography to make it a proverbial page-turner. What a Mensch! Patrician elegance, a faithful friend, an astute mind, unwavering courage, deeply engaged in the momentous events of two world wars with Popes, Princes, and Diplomats–the list goes on and on. How lovely to know you share the same accomplished gene pool.
Thank you for sending it to me; more importantly, thank you for caring enough to write it. I was more than impressed; I was agog at your shrewd interweaving of headlines with biography. 
Bene scripsisti in saecula saeculorum (you have written well for the ages).

Joseph Roccasalvo, S. J.
Teaches Comparative Religion and Buddhist Studies
at Fordham University, Lincoln Center.
He is a standing member of the Center for
the Study of World Religions, Harvard,
and holds a Ph.D. from that University.
A Catholic priest.

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    This true story of an extraordinary American, Msgr. William A. Hemmick, is a journey through the 20th century history of Europe.  As a Catholic priest, Msgr. Hemmick served the soldiers in the front lines of WWI.  Post- WW I, Msgr. Hemmick remained in Europe through the turbulent 1920s and 1930s and through the turmoil of WW II in Italy.  A cosmopolitan man, Msgr. Hemmick traveled widely and befriended kings, popes and celebrities. This book is a worthwhile read for both history buffs and those interested in the Catholic Church during this critical period.

Lucy Russell

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    Patricia Daly-Lipe puts us back in time to 1916, where we are caught up in the bloody, unrelenting trench warfare of World War I. The PATRIOT PRIEST is the true story of her great uncle, a Catholic priest who lived through the nightmare of a war that couldn’t be won or lost, but had to be endured. His steadfast sense of duty in the face of death and destruction is especially moving to us today, as we try and make sense of the endless wars that rage around us, and the inevitable moral question of whether we should “get involved.”

Donna Evers, Consulting writer,
The Georgetowner

Additional information

Weight 15.6 oz
Category ,
SKU 979-8-6803-7285-2