Friday, January 29, 2016

'The Shepherd Who Didn't Run' Blog Tour: Day 2, Roxane B. Salonen

'The Shepherd Who Didn't Run' Blog Tour continues today over at Peace Garden Passage, a lovely blog by my friend and fellow-author Roxane Salonen!

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I knew about “The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run” well before I was asked to endorse it, and even, I assume, before the title was chosen. It’s author, Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda, is both a dear friend and skilled journalist and writer. She’s won awards for her work, but even more, she’s just a class act of a human being.
So prior to sitting down to read the account of Father Stanley Rother and his incredible, sacrificial life, which ended in his murder in Guatamela on July 28, 1981, I knew it would be a powerful read. The whole project, after all, was covered in prayer, and the subject himself, on his way to official sainthood within the Catholic Church.
I’m privileged today to share this Q & A with Maria, which gave me even more insight into the soul of a man whose story is going to undoubtedly affect many as deeply as it did me. (My Forum column from July 2015 tying Father Rother’s life and death with that of a young man from Fargo.)
So let’s get to it. My questions, and Maria’s answers.
Q. Maria, it was such a pleasure reading your book, “The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run.” I’ve found myself thinking about this servant of God often, and have shared about him with others. I’m so grateful to have his story in my heart and definitely see that this story was meant by God to come more fully into the light and our consciousness.
As I’m thinking about the story, I am wondering more about your role in it as the writer. I understand the story was attempted earlier, but that in time it was necessary to bring in another writer to bring it to fruition. How did you approach this daunting task? How did you first find out about Father Rother? And what helped you feel qualified to write his story? Was it something personal with which you connected?
A: First of all, thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers, Roxane!
The Church of Oklahoma has done a great job of making sure that the story of Father Stanley Rother is passed on from generation to generation. When my family first moved to the state 20 years ago, my kids (who attended Catholic schools here) came home talking about this local priest who died in Guatemala—and I became intrigued! I did a little digging and wrote a few articles about Father Stanley for various Catholic publications. Years later, when the Archdiocese opened the cause and began working on this project, I was invited to be part of the Historical Commission, mostly working with the Spanish documents.
I also had the joy to know Father David Monahan, whom I mention in the book and credit with being the first biographer of Father Stanley. Father Monahan was a gifted journalist (editor of the Archdiocesan newspaper, Sooner Catholic, for many years!) who worked for years collecting information and writing Father Stanley’s life story. Unfortunately, Father Monahan developed dementia and was unable to complete the book—or publish it.
When Archbishop Coakley commissioned me to write this book, I had full access to archdiocesan materials as well as to Father Monahan’s unpublished biography.
Trying to tell someone’s life story is, indeed, a daunting task! One of the things I had to let go of was the unrealistic notion that I would – or could — be telling the WHOLE story! Mine is Father Stanley’s first biography, but I assume not his last. If / when he becomes an official saint, I’m sure there will be many other books published about him. My task was to introduce readers to him by sharing my own experience and understanding of Father Stanley’s story.
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Please drop by Peace Garden Passages to read the rest of our conversation! Just click here.