Of War and Peace and the Call of Our Mother
In May, the Month of Mary, we thought we'd share some stories on Our Lady and Marian devotion. Readers may recall past stories about the work of retired Army Maj. Andy Bringuel, a Vietnam veteran and rosary maker. He finished making his 10,000th rosary on Oct. 12, 2013 — the day before the Holy Father consecrated the world to Mary.
Here, Andy speaks about his achievement and what's next.
What keeps you going?
Knowing I am doing something Our Blessed Mother wants. She wants all to know of the Rosary and to pray it fervently.
Where have so many rosaries gone?
In the past, I've sent them to the Maryknoll missionaries, local churches, and Brooks Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Now I only send them to the Marian Helpers Center, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and the Universal Living Rosary Association of
What fruits have you seen?
I have received letters acknowledging the rosaries. Just a few weeks ago, I taught a class of five girls who were about 12 years old. They enjoyed it so much that they have asked me to lead it again.
Now that you've made 10,000 rosaries, what's the new goal?
I pray that God will allow me to make another 10,000, at least. I'd like to teach more people how to make them.
Is it difficult to learn how to make rosaries?
It is so easy that I taught two of my grandchildren to make them when they were just 11 or 12 years old.
As a retired soldier, why is praying for peace so important to you?
When it comes to war, I have been there and done that.
I was credited with calling in artillery fire on a large group of Viet Cong on my last combat mission in Vietnam. I was and am proud to have destroyed 20-30 of the enemy and sunk two of their small boats. I was running out of fuel and should have crashed. When I landed, the plane took more fuel than the book said it would hold! The Lockheed technical representative said I must have emptied the fuel in the tank and the fuel lines as well.
But it took me years of self-searching to appease my feelings. Why did God save me after I killed all those people? I fought with that for several years. I started asking priests why. All three responded, "God saved you because you were accomplishing your mission of protecting your people."
The crushing fact is that we lost more than 58,000 Americans in Vietnam — for what? Ask any of the South Vietnamese here in the U.S.A. how they feel about the closing chapter of the war. I think you will find all of them telling you horror stories of what the communist North Vietnamese have done and are doing to the people of South Vietnam. My intention for the first of the five rosaries [I make] each morning is world peace.
Why should everyone pray daily for peace?
Our Blessed Mother has told us to seek peace. If we do not seek and attain peace in the world, we are indeed going to suffer hell on earth.
You mentioned that Myrth, your wife, had arranged a Rosary Rally in downtown Fayetteville, Ga. What motivated her to do that?
She was motivated by Our Lady of Fatima and the organization America Needs Fatima's call for Rosary Rallies.
Did the participants use your rosaries?
We had them available and some did.
Why do you love Our Blessed Mother?
I grew up loving Our Blessed Mother. My mother and grandmother both prayed daily to her.
As a young soldier fresh out of aircraft mechanic school, the Army sent me to Mexico with my airplane to help make a new map of Mexico. Myrth, the boss's secretary, was just a little younger than I and spoke perfect English. We became good friends, and she took me to Mass (in Spanish). I didn't understand the words, but the actions were the same as here. The Mexican people are very devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Myrth asked Our Blessed Mother to allow us to marry if we were good for each other. About a year later, we were married. Just 56 years later, we are still in love with each other and Our Blessed Mother.