I did not look on him as a priest but as a very good friend who made other people’s troubles his own.
Lieutenant John Furman, Ex POW WWII
Welcome to the Hugh O'Flaherty Memorial Society
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Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty (1898 – 1963)
In Rome during World War II, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty organised an escape organisation for Allied POW’s and civilians. When the Allies entered Rome he and his colleagues had saved over 6,500 lives.
Hugh O’Flaherty, a Kerryman, was awarded the highest honours, including a Commander of the British Empire, the Congressional Medal of Freedom and was the first Irishman named Notary of the Holy Office.
Tribute to Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty - New York Times
He retired to Cahersiveen for the last three years of his life and in 1963 he sadly passed away. His death was mourned throughout the world, including a personal tribute in the New York Times.
Scarlet Pimpernel of The Vatican
In Ireland however up to now his work has largely gone unrecognised although people have a recollection of his work through the 1983 Gregory Peck Film “The Scarlet & The Black” and more recently through a published biography “The Vatican Pimpernel” by Brian Fleming.
It is the aim of the Memorial Committee to rectify this and to ensure that there is a permanent and fitting tribute to him in his home town of Killarney and to raise greater awareness of his great deeds in the community and in Ireland.
Brain Fleming author of The Vatican Pimpernel:
"O'Flaherty was awarded the highest honours, including a CBE (UK), the Congressional Medal (US), and was the first Irishman named Notary of the Holy Office. Eight million viewers watched him in 1963 on BBC's 'This Is Your Life'. Within months he had died and his death was reported by papers allover the world. In 1983 he immortalised in the film, 'The Scarlet and the Black'.
Yet the only monument to him is a grove of trees planted in Killarney National Park in 1994 by his family and friends
The name of this great and good man is largely forgotten in his native Ireland."
Our Aim, You Can Help ..
The committee's main objective is to ensure that the name and selfless deeds of this great man are never forgotten - we need your help.
You can play your part by learning what you can about the Monsignor and spreading the fabulous story to whoever you meet, in particular to the next generation.
You can also play your part is assisting us in our fundraising efforts - Click here to learn more