First of all, happy Catholic Schools Week!
This morning I went to Mass and signed books at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Okarche, Oklahoma. How perfect it was to be at the school and church that was home to Father Stanley Rother as we began the celebration of National Catholic Schools Week!
Coincidently, "The Shepherd Who Didn't Run" Blog Tour continues today with a special guest who is a dear friend not only to me, but to the whole Scaperlanda clan.
I have the University of Notre Dame to thank for being the place and community where I first met Meg Hunter-Kilmer 15 or so years ago. Another perfect "coincidence" for Catholic Schools Week!
In addition to having not one but two degrees from ND, Meg was a teacher at a Catholic School before becoming a full time Catholic evangelizer and missionary. She calls herself a "hobo missionary," but don't let her simple title fool you. Meg is a phenomenal speaker, writer, and now blogger--and above all, a woman on-fire for the Lord. You should consider having her come to speak at your parish or school!
From Meg's blog post today, over at "Held by His Pierced Hands: The only life worth living is a life worth dying for."
The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run
You may have picked up on the fact that I’m a little bit obsessed with Saints (and those on their way to being declared Saints). There’s something about getting to know one of God’s best friends that just makes me love him that much more. I have this image of life as an obstacle course (think American Ninja Warrior) and Saints as competitors who’ve finished the course and come back to coach you through. Here I need the witness of someone with low stamina, like me, there the advice of someone with a short temper. I keep a pantheonof Saints in my back pocket to encourage me by means of their own particular weaknesses.
So when my beautiful friend Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda asked if I’d review her latest book, The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run, I jumped at the chance. Maria and I have been friends since I met her oldest son in college and I’ve long admired her work and her deep joy in the Lord. Plus, I can’t get enough of modern martyr stories. And this one did not disappoint. Impeccably researched and written with a clarity that allows Father Stanley to shine through, this first published biography of Father Stanley Rother is the perfect introduction to a simple man called to greatness.
Fr. Stanley Rother was a down-home Oklahoma farm boy who failed out of seminary because he was better at manual labor than book learning. But he persevered, taking John Vianney as a model, and was ordained and sent to rural Oklahoma to serve. It wasn’t long before he answered the call to missionary work, heading to Guatemala where he would overcome his difficulty with languages, mastering Spanish and Tz’utujil, and earn the love of his people by working side by side with them.
But Latin America was a tumultuous place in the the 1980s and Fr. Stanley knew that the powers that be didn’t appreciate his solidarity with the people. It became clear that his life was on the line if he stayed where he was, but Fr. Stanley loved his people too much to abandon them. “At the first signs of danger, the shepherd can’t run,” he said time and again, echoing Jesus’ words in John 10.To read the rest of Meg's blog post, just click here.