Friday, February 8, 2013

A life well-lived: Father Stanley Rother

I spent a good chunk of today reading and researching for my current book project, so I thought I’d tell you about it.

I’ve been commissioned by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City to write a biography of Servant of God Father Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma missionary whose cause for canonization is in progress.

Oklahoma farm boy Stanley Rother was shot to death on July 28, 1981, while serving the poor of Guatemala, earning him a Martyr's crown.  He was 46.

Rother, who ministered at the mission of Santiago Atitlán from 1968 until his death, fell in love with the volatile and stunning land of volcanoes and earthquakes, but above all, with its indigenous Mayan people. 

Padre Apla’s (Francis in their native Tz’utujil) established the first farmers’ co-op, a school, the first hospital clinic, and the first Catholic radio station, which was used for catechesis.

Above all, he gave his heart to the people, choosing to remain with them in spite of being told that he was on a death list.

Rother was one of 13 priests—and the first American priest — slain during Guatemala’s 36-year-guerrilla war, a tragedy that claimed an estimated 140,000 lives. No one has ever been prosecuted for his killing.

I’ve already written several articles on Stanley Rother. Here’s one, and here’s another.

But writing his biography is at a whole other level. Please pray for me? I am humbled and honored to be able to tell his story.

And would you join us in praying for the Canonization of Father Stanley Rother, Oklahoma Martyr?
Heavenly Father,
source of all holiness,
in every generation you raise up
men and women heroic in love and service.
You have blessed your Church
with the life of Stanley Rother,
priest, missionary, and martyr.
Through his prayer, his preaching,
his presence, and his pastoral love,
you revealed Your love and Your presence
with us as Shepherd.
If it be your will,
may he be proclaimed
by the universal church
as martyr and saint,
living now in your presence
and interceding for us all.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen


  1. Maria, I am so excited to learn that Fr. Rother is what your book project is! You may be interested to learn that a priest friend of mine recently returned from a Maryknoll pilgrimage for priests and deacons; they went to Guatemala and to El Salvador. His own particular interest was Fr. Rother, I believe that he knew him.

    As a result, I have recently just learned more about this man. Please know that I am really praying for you. And for his cause!

  2. This is from a deacon that was on the trip that I mentioned in that comment. His homily was just about Fr. Rother.