Teal (teal_cuttlefish) wrote,


Shamelessly stolen from gomeza, who credits Will S with the story:

Hans Grapje was raised in a Catholic school in The Hague and, as a young
man, aspired to become a priest, but was drafted into the Army during WWII
and spent two years co-piloting B17s until his aircraft was shot down in
1943 and he lost his left arm.

Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual aid
to soldiers, both Allied and enemy. After the war, he became a priest,
serving as a missionary in Africa, piloting his own plane (in spite of his
handicap) to villages across the continent.

In 1997, Father Grapje was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver
mine caused a cave-in. Archbishop Grapje went down into the mine to
administer last rights to those too severely injured to move. Another shaft
collapsed, and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries,
including the loss of his right eye.

The high silver content in the mine's air gave him purpura, a life-long
condition characterized by purplish skin blotches.

Although Cardinal Grapje devoted his life to the service of God as a scholar,
mentor, and holy man, church leaders agree: he will never ascend to the
Papacy. No one wants a one-eyed, one-armed, flying purple Papal leader.
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