How John Wayne’s Faith and Patriotism Impacted His Life

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How John Wayne’s Faith and Patriotism Impacted His Life

By Allyson Vannatta, Senior Writer

This article is part of our Miracles in Hollywood series. 

Actor John Wayne was known as a man of faith and patriotism, both in his personal life and on-screen in his popular Western novels.

He is, perhaps, most known for his fierce love of his country.

The actor was a conservative, which is reflected many of the roles he played.

“Sure, I wave the American flag,” he once said. “Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure, I love my country with all her faults. I’m not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be.”

The actor loved the rugged individualism in 20th-century America; one where there were endless opportunities if you were willing to do the work.

After World War II started, Wayne’s patriotism kicked into high gear. He was a founding member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals and stood against communism.

Wayne is considered by some to be the greatest Hollywood star of all time, and his success could be rooted in his faith background.

As a child Wayne was raised Presbyterian, but wasn’t vocal about his faith as he grew older.

During his lifetime, Wayne married three devout Catholic women. All of his children were raised in the Catholic faith.

One of his sons said he wasn’t religious, while another said he would hand-write letters to God.

Perhaps, the turning point came when, after overcoming lung cancer, the TRUE GRIT star came down with a respiratory illness in 1974. Four years later, doctors were able to diagnose what he was battling as stomach cancer.

Wayne watched his friend John Ford battle this same kind of cancer. Ford died in the hospital with priests by his side and a rosary in his hand. He remembered the comfort and courage his friend had due to his faith in those last moments. This impacted Wayne.

During his last days in the hospital, Wayne allowed his sons to call a priest. The priest baptized Wayne and administered his last rites. That very same night, Wayne fell into a coma and died shortly thereafter.