Archangel Saint-Michael Château de Pierrefonds Collection PC FNCV
Great Volunteer Servicemen
François Casta was born at Calenzana, in Corsica, on August 20, 1919.
After living his early life in The Island of Beauty, he entered the Major Seminary of Ajacco. He wanted to become a priest and that is why in 1941, he continued his studies in Theology at the university seminary of Lyon and was ordained priest in 1943. In 1944, the joined the Resistance and the maquis, then, after the Provence landings, he was enlisted in the First French army commanded by General de Lattre de Tassigny as a volunteer, private soldier, stretcher holder and chaplain. He then participated in the Alsace campaign, during which he was severely wounded. His campaign ended in 1947, in Germany.
François Casta again volunteered for the Indochina war, where he became chaplain of the first shock battalion. He participated at the Bac-Kan operation at Tonkin during which French parachutists recovered the treasure which Hô Chi had taken hold of. It was under these circumstances that he earned the medal of Saint-Michael who subsequently became the official patron saint of parachutists.
After his Indochinese expedition, Father Casta returned to Europe, where he spent some time in Germany before leaving for Algeria. He became chaplain of the 25th parachute division, and diligently served the latter, in the jebels of Constantine. Thereafter, he returned to Corsica, Calvi and retired.
This was when his life as a writer started. He wrote books on Corsica and also narrated his experiences and souvenirs of his eighteen years spent with legendary military units in his book “Homme de Dieu, Homme de guerre [Man of God, Man of War]”.
François Casta was awarded Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour as a soldier. He was wounded three times and received eleven commendations including the Medal of Resistance, the Second World War Cross, the War Cross for Overseas Operations, and the Cross of Military Valour.
Francois CASTA died Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at the age of 92. His funeral was celebrated Monday, August 29, 2011 in the Cathedral of Saint-Louis des Invalides in Paris.
This priest-soldier leaves behind the souvenir of an exemplary man through his courage, modesty and broad culture. May Saint-Michael hold fast to his saint guard; he deserves it...