An American Martyr

Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of Father Stanley Rother of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, making him the first martyr born in the United States. Father Rother is pictured in an undated file photo. (CNS photo/Charlene Scott)

Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of the Rev. Stanley Rother of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, making him the first martyr born in the United States and clearing the way for his beatification. The Vatican made the announcement on Dec. 2. Father Rother, born March 27, 1935, on his family’s farm near Okarche, Okla., was gunned down on July 28, 1981, in a Guatemalan village where he ministered to the poor. He had gone to Santiago Atitlan in 1968 on assignment from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He helped the people there build a small hospital, school and its first Catholic radio station. As the violence rose around him, he received numerous death threats over his opposition to the presence of the Guatemalan military in the area. Father Rother chose to remain in his Guatemalan community, explaining in a letter back home before his murder, “the shepherd cannot run away at the first sign of danger.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

 Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 20. The pope at his "Regina Coeli" announced that he will create 14 new cardinals June 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Eleven of the new cardinals are under the age of 80 and so have the right to vote in the next conclave.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 20, 2018
Images: AP, Wikimedia Commons
Bishop Curry described Teilhard as “one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.”
Angelo Jesus CantaMay 19, 2018
Both men were close to each other in life, and both are much revered by Pope Francis.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 19, 2018
The Gaza Nakba demonstrations this week have done nothing to advance the situation of Palestinian refugees, nor did they provide relief to the people of Gaza, who dwell in an open-air prison, hemmed in and oppressed at every turn.