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When an American aristocrat meets a European Grand Duke

Mother Margaret Georgina Patton, OSB of Regina Laudis Abbey in New England is the daughter of Gen. George S. Patton IV and granddaughter of the famous Gen. George S. Patton III. Mother Patton remembers being introduced to the Grand Duke of Luxembourg when she was but five years of age. At the instruction of her parents, she spent a week practicing her curtsey. When the moment finally came and she was brought before His Royal Highness, she looked him over, and stuck out her hand. The young girl had expected a crown, and, seeing none, thought a regular old handshake would do.

The elder Gen. Patton did have a connection to the Abbey himself. “General George Patton, Sr., liberated France as the commanding general of the Third Army,” explains Mother Delores Hart (the former film actress, and only nun among the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences). “His was the army that liberated Jouarre, the abbey where Mother Benedict was in hiding.” Mother Benedict Duss founded the Abbey of Regina Laudis after the war, and died at the ripe age of 94.

“This connection continues through the whole Patton family to this day,” Mother Delores continued. George S. Patton V lives close to the Abbey in Connecticut, with his brothers Robert H. Patton in nearby Darien, and Benjamin Wilson Patton in New York, while their sister Helen lives in Saarbrücken, Germany.

General Patton père died in a car accident in Germany, but his son followed in his footsteps by choosing a career in the army. When his daughter Margaret, the future nun, was born, he was fighting in the wilds of Vietnam. Nonetheless, General Patton fils felt compelled to write a letter to his newborn daughter, introducing himself from abroad. He ended it simply “Play it cool” and signed his full name.

It’s no wonder that Margaret joined Regina Laudis, a community of Benedictines in full, traditional habits, as she came from a well-dressed family. General Patton père designed his own uniforms and even the family of the younger general continued the tradition of dressing for dinner, “despite the trend toward informality that was sweeping the nation” as the Patton Saber puts it. The old habits are returning — any bets on when folks will start dressing for dinner again?

This post was published on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 2:48 pm. It has been categorised under Church History Military and been tagged under , .
Comments
  1. david
    13 January 2010
    9:22 pm

    Mr Cusack
    What makes Gen. Patton an American “aristocrat” in comparison with European aristocracy(and here royalty)?
    D

  2. L Gaylord Clark
    15 January 2010
    11:26 am

    People who were educated, concerned about culture, loved and respected America’s European roots, AND were professional soldiers at the highest level.
    It is the unusual marriage of the two which makes the Pattons worthy to be called aristocrats. The MacArthurs were similar.

    The modern American army has long abandoned this tradition, and it shows.

  3. M. Martin
    23 February 2010
    12:06 pm

    Mr. Cusack,
    Allow me to comment that I am an admirer of your website, and want to thank you for your informative Catholic site. I enjoy the new format; it makes it easier to navigate.

    Thank you for mentioning Regina Laudis. You might want to note that the Abbey has produced several musical CD’s. these are sung by the nuns there and are mainly lovely Gregorian Chants. It is worth visiting their website to see what they have. In their latest CD, Prioress, Mother Dolores Hart, performs “a spoken recitation of the English translation of the medieval monastic text the Announcement of Christmas.”

  4. Armando C Pujadas
    12 March 2010
    1:47 am

    Mr. Cusak,

    My 14 year old son and I recently read Robert H Patton’s terrific book, Patriot Privateers, and would like to send an email or written note to the author.

    We saw your article and decided to post this comment in hopes of communicating with him somehow.

    My son would like to own an autographed copy of the book.

    And, yes, the Pattons embody the finest of qualities in American families.

    A. C. Pujadas

  5. Andrew Cusack
    12 March 2010
    10:23 am

    Your best bet is to contact the publisher of the book.

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