Items from WWII Navy chaplain, Waterloo pastor on display at Grout

Posted by Pat Kinney on Wednesday, July 13, 2022

The Grout Museum District has received a donation of artifacts of a World War II military chaplain and longtime Waterloo Catholic pastor who was a witness to history.

The Mass kit (pictured below) of the Rev. Msgr. Duane A. Brady (pictured above), longtime pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, is on display in the "Recent Acquisitions" area, in front of the library on the lower level of the Museum.

Brady was a native of Belmond and ordained a Catholic priest in 1939. He was a U.S. Navy military chaplain for three years, including time on the heavy cruiser USS Quincy when it ferried president Franklin D. Roosevelt to his "Big Three" conference at Yalta on the Black Sea in the Soviet Union in early 1945 with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Premier Josef Stalin. Brady became acquainted with FDR on the trip. Prior to that, the Quincy also served at Utah Beach on D-Day June 6, 1944 and in the Allied amphibious landings in southern France. Brady also was a chaplain in the Navy Reserves for many years.

After the war and with the rise of the Iron Curtain, Father Brady taught at the American College in Rome from 1945-48 and worked in the Displaced Persons office at the Vatican from 1948-49. While in the Vatican he worked under Cardinal Giovanni Montini, who later became Pope Paul VI. He was the first rector of Mount St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque and taught at Loras College.
In the 1930s Brady became acquainted with Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, which led to involvement in many social justice causes. He was a leader, with three other churches, in establishing the Park Towers ecumenical low-income elderly housing project in the President Hotel in downtown Waterloo in 1970. He also helped lead the fund drive to build Columbus High School, which opened in 1959, as well as St. Francis Hospital, now MercyOne Waterloo, in the mid-1960s. Brady and his parish staff at St. Joseph's also gave away food to Waterloo's needy out of the parish rectory for many years.

Brady's chaplain's kit, in addition to Mass equipment, missals and items of his priestly office, contains an Eastern Orthodox prayer cloth inscribed with Russian Cyrillic script (pictured) and many items of memorabilia from his local service, including a St. Joseph's parish bulletin from November 1970, a missalette from that year and mimeographed Mass programs which contain lyrics from contemporary songs from the late 1960s and early '70s. It also contains his baby ring on a neckace chain.

Brady stepped away from pastorship at St. Joseph's after 13 years there in 1968 and spent nine years in a special apostolate ministering to disadvantaged persons in the metro area out of a cabin on land off North Union Road in Cedar Falls, which became known as St. Monica's. He returned as pastor of St. Joseph's from 1977 until his death in January 1987. St. Joseph's and other east Waterloo and Evansdale Catholic parishes merged to form Queen of Peace Parish at the St. Joseph's worship site in 2003. Msgr. Brady is laid to rest at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Belmond.

About The Author

Pat is the Oral Historian for the Grout Museum District.