After World War II, Renee Passebosc returned to France. Not back to her hometown of Montauban, but to the bustling city of Paris, where she had lived with her parents for a short time before the war. There, Renee's husband worked in the U.S. Military offices situated along the Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement of post-war Paris.

To take lunch at her favorite café, Renee would cross the very congested 230-foot-wide Champs-Élysées. One pleasant spring afternoon in 1953 was turning unpleasant for Renee, as she tried to make her way across the avenue, finding herself stranded in a lane, the traffic whizzing all around her. She was frightened, uncertain of her next move.

Suddenly, Renee realized she was standing in the shadow of a tall person. When she turned around, she was looking right up at a handsome man, at least 10 years her senior, dressed in a grey flannel suit and red tie. He smiled as he looked down on Renee, and extending his big hand to her, politely asked in a very distinguished American voice, “May I help you across the street, young lady?” To this, Renee obliged most cordially, as he took her small, gloved hand and began guiding her safely across the busy avenue.

As they weaved their way through the traffic, Renee kept looking over, timidly smiling at this kind good-looking gentleman who smiled right back at her. Renee felt secure crossing the Champs-Élysées with him. She knew of this American. She heard he was a devout Catholic and a very genuine sort that everyone back at her husband’s office greatly admired.

After they made it to the other side, Renee thanked the considerate man for getting her safely across the street. She realized that St. Christopher must have sent her an angel to guide her along. But the Patron Saint of travelers was being awfully generous to her that fine afternoon. This is to say that Renee’s beloved guardian angel, Hollywood actor Gregory Peck, smiled warmly at her, gently let go of her hand, waved adieu and wished her a good day, as he headed off in the opposite direction, perhaps to attend Mass.

Van der Hout attends St. Pius X Parish and Mount Angel Abbey Church.