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The Shepherd Who Didn't Run

Blessed Stanley Rother

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The Story of
Blessed Stanley Rother

Stanley Francis Rother was born March 27, 1935, in Okarche, Oklahoma. He grew up on a farm and attended Holy Trinity Catholic Church and School. 

While he served as a Catholic priest in Guatemala, a civil war raged between the militarist government forces and the guerrillas. During this conflict, thousands of people, including Catholics, were killed. Eventually, Father Rother’s name appeared on a death list. For his safety and that of his associate, Father Rother returned home to Oklahoma. He didn’t stay long, though, as he was determined to give his life completely to his people, stating that “the shepherd cannot run.” 

On Dec. 1, 2016, Pope Francis officially recognized Father Rother as a martyr for the faith. He is the first martyr from the United States and the first U.S.-born priest to be beatified. The Rite of Beatification was held on Sept. 23, 2017, in downtown Oklahoma City – an event attended by more than 20,000 people from around the world.

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