The Leper SpyThe Story of an Unlikely Hero of World War II
By Ben Montgomery
Chicago Review Press
Book Review by Shirley Raye Redmond
I love amazing true stories of little know heroes and heroines, like Desmond Doss, whose heroic and selfless acts of courage are now immortalized in Mel Gibson’s recent film Hacksaw Ridge about the Battle of Okniawa, where I grew up.
Recently, I read a book about another hero of WWII—Josefina Guerrero, a Filipina woman living in Manila. She was married to a teacher and was raising a 2-year-old toddler when she was diagnosed with leprosy. The gut-wrenching diagnosis turned Joye’s life upside down. Friends and family deserted her. Joey’s husband left her, taking their little daughter with him. Then the Japanese invaded Manila. Many of Joey’s friends and neighbors were killed, while others were rounded up and moved to concentration or labor camps.
But the enemy didn’t touch Joey. The Japanese had a horrific fear of lepers and never ventured near the leper colony or nearby cemetery. They wouldn’t even search her for contraband or touch any food she’d handled.
Joey became a spy for the American troops in the Philippines—delivering maps, secret dispatches and smuggled rations for G.I.s hiding in the cemetery or nearby caves.
Throughout the war, Joey continued to pray for healing, but God seemed to ignore her prayers. With a courage born of desperation, she continued to aid the American troops, saving the lives of hundreds of soldiers and her fellow countrymen, who were also fighting the Japanese.
After the war, Army chaplains found Joey living in the filth of the leper colony. They petitioned their Congressmen back in the USA to bring Josie to the USA to be treated for Hanson’s disease. This was granted. Not only was she cured, but the President also presented her with the Medal of Freedom for her selfless acts of courage during the war.
If you’re looking for an inspiring story to read over the holidays, I can heartily recommend this one.
An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker,Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of two inspirational historical novels, PRUDENCE PURSUED and AMANDA’S BEAU, as well as two dozen children’s books. Shirley Raye holds an M.A. in literature. She has been married to her husband Bill for forty years. They live in New Mexico and are blessed with two grown children, two adorable grandsons, and one spunky Scottish terrier. Touch bases at shirleyrayeredmond.com or Facebook and http://www.writechildrensbook.com/blog