Fanchón Royer

             Fanchón Royer, born in 1902 in Des Moines, Iowa found an early destiny in multiple careers. After moving to Hollywood with her mother in 1918, she rapidly climbed to success as an actress, an editor and book reviewer, the owner of a publicity agency and by 1928 as “the industry’s only woman producer.” Not long after this zenith of celebrity, Miss Royer’s fascination with “high tension endeavor,”[1] along with the material affluence it had brought her, had toppled two marriages and left her with five children to support. To pay the family bills, she continued as a producer contracted to fulfill 10 melodramas a year. Ten more years passed before she would drastically change direction.

            At age 40, though a “fully formed adult agnostic,” Fanchón began to see the need for faith in her life and in the lives of her children; in 1943 she entered the Catholic Church.  She was soon producing Catholic films, which led her to Mexico, a place she had long loved. Here she settled and began to do research and writing about Mexico for North American readers in articles and in a book called The Mexico We Found.

            It was not long before Fanchón discovered that it was the “spiritual titans” of Mexico and Central America whose stories “cried much louder for the telling.” Among these stories were The Franciscans Came First; The Tenth Muse: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz; St Francis Solanus, Apostle to America; St Anthony Claret, and an earlier version of Padre Pro’s life called Padre Pro, Modern Apostle and Martyr.

            Eventually, in 1957 Fanchón Royer established her home on a fruit farm in Teziutlan, Puebla where both children and grandchildren could return and visit. Here she continued her writing and research. Long forgotten by Hollywood, and by no means rich, Fanchón had found a place to be nourished by the communion of saints, nourishing others as well by her writing. She died in 1981.



[1] This and other quotes are taken from her personal account in The Book of Catholic Authors vol 6, Walter Romig and Company (published shortly after 1960).