Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Shepherd Who Didn't Run Blog Tour: Day 6, Maria Morera Johnson

I love this review in a special way in that it comes from someone who knows a thing or two about saints--especially Badass saints and martyrs like Father Stanley Rother.

Besides having a great name, Maria Morera Johnson is a Cuban-born American like me. She is also the author of "My Badass Book of Saints: Courageous Women Who Showed me How to Live" and the co-host of "Catholic Weekend" on SQPN. When she is not being a writer, she is a catechist and a very funny and talented speaker (I've seen her in action!).

You really do need to meet her. Drop by her blog here. And check out her post on my book:

Review: The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run

I often have opportunities to review books. This blesses me in a number of ways, mostly because I get to read things I might not intentionally select for myself. Because books seem to find their way to me, I’ve been able to broaden my knowledge base and world view. Sometimes it’s a humbling experience — especially when it means learning about amazing people such as Father Stanley Rother.

Sons of Oklahoma

I first heard about Fr. Stan on an episode of Catholic Weekend when co-host Steve Nelson mentioned him. In fact, I’m pretty sure Steve had spoken about Fr. Stan before. You see, Steve is from Oklahoma, and Fr. Stan’s story is very close to him.
[NOTE: This is NOT a live link -- but click here to check out the Catholic Weekend episode on SQPN]

Fr. Stanley Rother was a priest from the Diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa, who after only a handful of years as a priest, asked to go to Guatemala as a missionary. He overcame trials with language, learning not only Spanish, but Tz’utujil as well. In the process, he fell in love the people he served.
Guatemala was a dangerous place for Fr. Stan. His connection to the people and the ways in which he enriched the community eventually drew the attention of factions who wanted to eliminate him. Scare tactics that included threats via murders of his own parishioners didn’t deter him. Although he returned to the US briefly, ultimately, his heart remained in Guatemala where he returned and was eventually murdered in his own home.

The Book

The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run: Fr. Stanley Rother, Martyr from Oklahoma

by María Ruiz Scaperlanda

click to purchase the book
María Ruiz Scaperlanda tells Fr. Stan’s story — a gift for people like me who yearn to make sense of the Saints, and yearn even more to grasp the depth of conviction and strength of trust in the Lord that would give an ordinary man extraordinary courage.
Saints are local. They come from ordinary families, parishes, and communities like Okarche, Oklahoma. But their impact is universal. They belong to the whole Church. They remind us that holiness is our fundamental vocation. Saints represent the full flowering of the grace of our baptism.
~Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Scaperlanda’s tribute to this holy soul inspires me to continue in my ordinary work — to be present to those I serve, and in that way, follow Fr. Stan’s example:
To put it another way, Fr. Stanley came to understand with clarity the importance of “presence.” By constantly striving to deliberately be present to the people in front of him, to the needs in front of him, Father Stanley proclaimed a God who lives and suffers with his people.
~ María Ruiz Scaperlanda
The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run

In the past 30 years, María has been published broadly in the U.S., including the New York Times, Our Sunday Visitor, St. Anthony Messenger, Columbia, and other national and diocesan publications. Maria’s work as a Catholic journalist has taken her on international assignments in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and throughout Europe. But perhaps her favorite assignment was covering Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to her native country, Cuba. Her primary life-time assignment, however, has been as wife to Michael for 34 years, mother to four grown children—and now “Bella” to six adorable grandchildren!

Click here to drop by Maria Morera Johnson's blog