I have just finished reading Brian Fleming's book The Vatican Pimpernel. This is the story of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty's activities in Rome during the second world war - the book credits him with being involved in getting over 6,500 people (POWs, Jews, and Italians) to safety. It is a remarkable story of courage, devotion, faith, deception and intrigue. Monsignor O'Flaherty used his status in the Vatican to hide people from the authorities in houses and churches throughout Rome. With the cooperation of the British and rich donors he was able pay for security, accommodation, and other things like false papers. A truly remarkable man - he was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and the US Medal of Freedom after the war.
|Image Source: Collins Press.
Ever since the 1983 movie came out my Dad has told me that we are related to the Monsignor. So in my Family Tree I decided to trace this link (with the help of my third cousin Catherine Culloty) and found that he is my second cousin twice removed. In other words his mother (Margaret Murphy from Lisrobin, West Cork) and my great grandmother, Julia (Murphy) O'Loughlin, were first cousins.