Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Blessed Stanley

We rejoice this day as celebrate the American martyr for the faith, Blessed Stanley Rother. An Oklahoma priest he became a missionary in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, where he served the native tribe of the Tz’utujil. Father Rother was surrounded by extreme poverty of the Tz’utujil and ministered to them tirelessly.

During his time in Guatemala, a civil war raged between government forces and guerrillas. Despite great pressures the Church continued to catechize and educate the people. Thousands of Catholics were killed. And when Father Rother’s name appeared on a death list, he briefly returned to the States. But he was so dedicated to his people that he soon returned to Guatemala insisting, “the shepherd cannot run.”

A few months later three men entered his rectory around 1 a.m. on July 28, 1981, fought with Father Rother and then executed him. The people of Santiago Atitlan mourned the loss of their leader and friend and requested that Father Rother’s heart be kept in Guatemala where it remains enshrined today.

As monks we want our lives of hidden prayer and work to be filled with ardor and devotion like Blessed Stanley's.

Biography adapted from the website of the Diocese of Oklahoma City.