The Heroic Story of Oklahoma Farmer Bl. Stanley Rother, the Modern-Day Martyr-Priest

The image in the photograph was donated by the family for the beatification process. , CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons / Archdiocese of Oklahoma, Youtube / ChurchPOP

Bl. Fr. Stanley Rother is a modern-day inspiration!

The Church celebrates the memorial of Bl. Stanley Rother on July 28.

Born March 27, 1935, Bl. Stanley Rother grew up on an Okarche, Okla. farm. He discerned the priesthood while in high school, and was ordained in 1963.

After serving as an associate pastor for five years, the Oklahoma diocese granted him permission to serve at the their mission in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, where he ministered to the Tz’utujil tribe.

The tribe lived in extreme poverty. Fr. Rother visited and cared for them in their one-room huts. He ate with them, and helped them with medical needs. He also assisted with their farming needs, including building an irrigation system.

During his time in Guatemala, a civil war broke out between the militaristic government and the guerrillas. The Catholic Church continued evangelizing and catechizing citizens, putting them in the middle of the conflict.

They killed thousands of Catholics, and placed Fr. Rother on a death list. He then returned to Oklahoma for his safety.

However, Fr. Rother explained that “the shepherd cannot run,” and returned to Guatemala, emphasizing his commitment to the people.

A few months after his return, three men shot Fr. Rother in his rectory on July 28, 1981 at approximately one o’clock in the morning.

Fr. Rother’s canonization cause began in 2007. The Vatican officially recognized him as a martyr in 2015, and Pope Francis recognized him as a martyr for the faith in 2016. He was then beatified in Oklahoma City Sept. 23, 2017.

He is the first official United States martyr and the first priest from the United States to be beatified.

The video below explains in greater depth Bl. Stanley Rother’s story. It even includes interviews from his siblings, one of whom is a religious sister.

Listen to Bl. Stanley Rother’s story below:


Click here if you cannot see the video above.

Bl. Stanley Rother, please pray for us!

[See also: Extraordinary Miracles Attributed to 21 Beheaded Coptic Christians: “The Martyrs Heal People”]

[See also: This Is the Last Prayer the Martyr-Nuns in Yemen Prayed Before Being Killed]

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Jacqueline Burkepile is the editor for the English edition of ChurchPOP. She is a journalist, former university campus minister, and a wife and mother. You can follow her posts on Instagram and Facebook.