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

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

by María Ruiz Scaperlanda


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The Shepherd Who Didn't Run: Fr. Stanley Rother, Martyr from Oklahoma by María Ruiz Scaperlanda

"The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger." - Fr. Stanley Francis Rother

Fr. Stanley Rother was true to his word. He did not run. And was martyred at the age of 46.

Fr. Stanley arrived in Guatemala in 1968, and immediately identified with his parishioners' simple, farming lifestyle. He learned their languages, prepared them for the Sacraments, and cared for their needs. Fr. Stanley, or "Padre Francisco" as he was called by his beloved Tz'utujil Indians, had found his heart's calling.

After nearly a decade, the violence of the Guatemalan civil war found its way into the peaceful village. Disappearances, killings, and danger became daily occurrences, but despite this unrest Fr. Stanley remained hard at work, building a farmer's co-op, a school, a hospital, and the first Catholic radio station, used for catechesis.

In early 1981, his name was on a death list, so he returned to Oklahoma and was warned not to return. But he could not abandon his people, so he went back, and made the ultimate sacrifice for his faith.

"Pray for us that we may be a sign of the love of Christ for our people," said Fr. Stanley, "that our presence among them will fortify them to endure these sufferings in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612789156
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor, Publishing Division
Publication date: 09/15/2015
Pages: 276
Sales rank: 111,353
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Paul S. Coakley 15

Introduction Sister Marita Rather 19

Chapter 1 Love to the Extreme Limit 25

July 28, 1981: The Shepherd Who Didn't Run 25

The Santiago Atitlan Mission: A Return to Ministry 27

"If It Is My Destiny That I Should Give My Life Here, Then So Be It…" 28

As We Get Started 30

Chapter 2 Son of the Red Earth State 35

A Long Lineage of Germans, Farmers, Catholics 35

Becoming Oklahomans 37

The Rother Family 38

School: A Family Competition 43

Stanley's Road to the Priesthood: A Vision of Mission 48

I Want to Be a Priest 50

Everything Changes: The First Seminary 51

Where Do You Find God? 56

Chapter 3 A New Beginning 61

Mount St. Mary's 65

Ordination Day: May 25, 1963 71

Ministry: The Early Years 74

The Texoma Undertaking 76

Stanley's First Work with Indians 80

An Oklahoma Mission in Guatemala 82

Why Me? 86

Chapter 4 MICATOKLA: Stanley's New Home 91


Fitting in at MICATOKLA 97

Building the Hospitalito 102

Building Communication 103

The Making of a Home 106

The Tz'utmil People 110

And Then There Was One: MICATOKLA Changes 116

Chapter 5 Padre Francisco 121

The Missionary's Work of Love 122

Family Bonds Across the Miles 129

Living a Eucharistic Life 133

The Gift of Humor 139

The Great Earthquake of 1976 143

Where Two or More Are Gathered 148

Build My Church 150

Watching Storms Building from a Distance 155

Chapter 6 He Died an Atiteco 161

First Signs of Danger 161

The Violence Reaches Lake Atitlan 170

Orejas, Not for Listening 173

An Unwanted Top 10 List 177

The New Normal 179

A Martyr of Charity 183

Diego Quic 187

A Bloodbath in Atitlan 190

"What Can I Do?" 193

Stanley Rother's Garden of Gethsemane 195

The Letters 201

Coming Home 204

Summertime in the Village 208

The Hour Has Come 212

This Is My Blood 217

Chapter 7 The Flesh of Jesus 219

The Tree Cried Out and Bled, But It Did Not Die 219

"They Killed Stan" 222

Witness to the Living Christ Present in His People 225

A Martyr for His People 227

"From the Beginning of Our Priesthood" 232

Father Stanley Rother: Patron for All Priests 237

Epilogue Eusebius J. Bettran 241

Notes 245

List of Works Consulted 249

Acknowledgments 253

Map of Guatemala 256

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