Born in St. Louis, Missouri on January 17, 1927, he was brought up as a cradle Catholic, attending Catholic grade school in his parish, then High School before being accepted at Notre Dame where he delved into a career in medicine. Still young and caught up in the "now," without realizing his true vocation in life, he resented the strict discipline of the Holy Cross Fathers as he admitted in a letter to Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh on December 2, 1960 from Hong Kong six weeks before he would die after being flown from there to New York: "Notre Dame is twice on my mind...and always in my heart. That Grotto is the rock to which my life is anchored. Do the students ever appreciate what they have, while they have it? I know I never did. Spent most of my time being angry at the clergy at school...10 p.m. bed check, absurd for a 19 year-old veteran, etc., etc., etc." But he was no longer bitter for the fourteen years since he was a freshman in South Bend transformed him from a resentful, rebellious teen to an introspective saint to many. Because of his lack of commitment in his teens his grades suffered at Notre Dame and he left the University. He returned home, enrolling in another Catholic institution whose requirements were not as strict as the former - St. Louis University's School of Medicine. Though he struggled in keeping his grade level above water, he did graduate in 1950 and, rather than going into private practice, entered the United States Navy and was sent to Indochina as a Navy doctor. During this time, as a young lieutenant, he spearheaded a Navy operative called "Operation Freedom," helping to evacuate nearly a half million people from North Vietnam to South Vietnam in 1954-55 after the French had abandoned their presence there.
Some detractors hint that Dr. Dooley was merely a CIA plant scouting the area for the military, but no proof has ever been provided for this claim. Had that been true, it is highly credible that Dooley would have remained in the service and risen through the ranks. Yet, they still blame Dooley for initiating America's involvement in Southeast Asia and the ultimate, tragic Vietnam War. Again, these statements hold no credibility. The same with slanderous statements that he was homosexual. They base this on wild rumors of his sympathy for those who were gay, the fact he never married, and his successful recruiting of young men at Notre Dame to serve as doctors. Again, these are slanderous statements with no credibility, only more persecution to slur Catholics and the man, perpetuating the ridiculous myth that if one doesn't marry, they must be gay; sinisterly implying that priests as well were gay and there was a vast homosexual network within the Catholic clergy in America. It was merely more Catholic-bashing by many in the secular media who were unabashedly anti-Catholic, a trend that began with Nast in the 19th Century and continues to our present day. The truth is Dr. Dooley never married for he did not have the time. He was married to his vocation in life. Though not a priest, nevertheless he lived a celibate life and held his faith dear to him. Yes, he was sympathetic to gays, but he was sympathetic to everyone. Rank had no privileges with Dr. Dooley. Like Mother Teresa he saw in each person Jesus Christ and used his God-given talents of healing and reaching people in his mild, bedside manner to heal both body and soul.
Though he had charm, talent, came from a well-to-do family, and enjoyed social position to become a "society doctor," he chose to practice medicine in the poorest of the poor countries and when he was discharged from the Navy, rather than returning home to reap the spoils of his profession, he opted to remain with the people of Laos. He founded MEDICO, recruiting young dedicated doctors and medical personnel from the states to give a few years of their lives to others. He worked closely with the missionaries in that region, especially the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate who had been a motivating force in evangelizing that area of Southeast Asia. This editor can remember Dr. Dooley personally speaking to our class at the Oblate Seminary in Carthage, Missouri in 1958 during one of his states tours, entreating all of us to be dedicated in our lives, to give all to God and see Christ in every person, regardless of race or color, man, woman or child - to treat them all as we would if it were Jesus in person. That struck quite a chord with all of us. It also struck a chord with a man who would go on to become President of the United States the same year Dooley died, John F. Kennedy who, many believe, established the Peace Corps due to the efforts inspired by Dr. Dooley, publicized greatly through his best seller "Deliver us from Evil."
When criticized for practicing 19th century medicine, his reply was that prior to his efforts, the people he served were practicing 15th century medicine. When asked by a fellow doctor "What do you get out out of it?" he answered, "I get lenty. All of us have the same quiet, inner joy that you have when you see your patient's eyes light up just a little bit because of you. But take that patient and put him in a hospital, in a high mountain valley, half a world away, where without you he has black magic or sorcery: you heal him and glow inside of you is a wonderful thing, a thing full of wonder." He felt this way until his death and we gain a greater insight into the man and his empathy for others in his letter to Fr. Hesburgh when he wrote, "It has become pretty definite that the cancer has spread to the lumbar vertebrae, accounting for all of the back problems over the last two months. I have monstrous phantoms...as all men do. But I try to exorcise them with all the fury of the middle ages. And inside and outside the wind blows. But when the time comes, like now, then the storm around me does not matter. The winds within do not matter. Nothing human or earthly can touch me. A wilder storm of peace gathers in my heart. What seems unpossessable I can possess. What seems unfathomable, I fathom. What is unutterable, I utter. Because I can pray. I can communicate. How do people endure anything on earth if they cannot have God?"
He established seventeen medical programs in fourteen countries and always stressed throughout his very brief career that his efforts were to be financed by private entities, that his was a job that needed to be done by individuals, not governments (further proof he was not a CIA plant in the Navy). He also insisted that his was a medical effort, not a religious effort. But it was his religion that spurred him on even on his death bed and no doubt converted countless patients he served over the years as a loyal servant of God.
He finally received his degree from Notre Dame on June 5, 1960 when he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Fr. Hesburgh. In attendance to honor him was the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Giovanni Baptiste Montini who three years later would become Pope Paul VI. Seven months later, on January 18, 1961, shortly after receiving the last rites, Dr. Dooley died of cancer, a hero to many of his peers. In his last days, he received a letter addressed "Dr. Tom Dooley, Saint." Although he scoffed at this, many of the young people of his generation made a hero of him and, we suspect, many a young man considered a career in medicine hoping to perpetuate his legacy and emulate the virtues exhibited by this "Jungle Doctor" who accepted his own suffering, but could not accept the suffering of others without doing something about it in the manner Christ taught. Truly he was a man who lived the Works of Mercy and God took Him Home, mercifully shortening his own suffering from the devastating cancer that cut short a life of dedication to others.
On this day when my Divine Son's One True Church honors that mystery in the salvation of mankind when I visited my cousin Elizabeth, I call out to all of my children.
How I intercede for you that through your conversion of heart you each may cry out with me, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..."
How I desire for each of you to meditate upon these words which flowed forth from my heart on the breath of the Holy Spirit. Meditate upon the utterance of Elizabeth, who, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out, "And who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to Me?"
O! Meditate on the fullness of the Holy Spirit, the enlightenment bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon the heart that is open and seeks the Perfect Will of God!
Behold, my children, Pentecost comes to you, and you do not make any effort to prepare yourself. On this day, as on that first Pentecost, the Most Blessed Trinity desires to pour out the Holy Spirit upon each of you, because each of you is meant to be filled with God, to be brought into full unity with Him.
Let this Pentecost be for each of my children an on-going in-pouring of the Holy Spirit, who alone is Sanctifier, Purifier. It is necessary, my little ones, that you seek and desire this inpouring so that as the end times progress into great darkness of spirit, you shall have strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment.
Pray much, my little ones, for I solemnly tell you that all must return to my Divine Son before the reign of the antichrist is fulfilled. Time is very short. It is critical, and I beseech you to pray with your heart that my Immaculate Heart may triumph, as the Most Blessed Trinity desires.
This I ask of you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
To all the world I say with Infinite Mercy and Love: Come unto Me, for I Am Life. I Am Peace.
O! My children, behold your sorrowing world which knows only evil. Where is there true peace? It is not to be found among nations, for pride rules.
Therefore, if you wish Peace, then you must come to Me. Cut down and cast from you all manner of weapons. I speak not only of guns, swords and weaponry of war. I speak also to your human intellect, your ego and will.
Close thy mouth that evil may not touch thy lips.
Close thy ears so that you hear no evil to stir up thy pride.
Close thy eyes to all sinfulness, and keep strict watch over all thy senses, which My enemy uses to take you from Me.
I solemnly tell you that if you refuse My Love and Mercy, the world shall be filled with the roar of the beast. So shrill shall his scream be, that it shall deafen you to My Call. And at that moment when the howl of the beast is heard in every nation, lift up your heads, O My faithful ones, and be not afraid, for know I Come!
Hear Me, O world. Come now, run to Me! War, great and terrible, shall befall the world if you reject Me!
Therefore, prepare. Pray, wait, watch and persevere, for I Come!
Cardinal Francesco della Rovere is elected Pope Sixtus IV as 212th successor of Peter, the pontiff who would build the Sistine Chapel, establish the feast of Saint Joseph on March 19th universally, established the Spanish Inquisition and appoint the controversial Tomas de Torquemada as grand inquisitor in Spain.. He was an expert politician and generous patron of the arts.
Pope Pius IX released his twenty-first encyclical - Quanto conficiamur moerore on the alarming rate false doctrines are being promoted.
Pope Saint Pius X issues his ninth encyclical Gravissimo officio munere specifically to the bishops of France over the issue of French associations of worship.