“The Padre” is Father Stanley Rother, a native of Okarche, Oklahoma, a farming community northwest of Oklahoma City. He arrived in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, in 1968 and soon “Padre Francisco” became much beloved by the Tz’utujil Indians he served. After nearly a decade, the violence of the Guatemalan civil war found its way to this peaceful rural village and in early 1981, Father Rother was placed on a death list by government forces. He was recalled to Oklahoma for his protection, but famously declared, “The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger,” and soon returned to serve his people. At age 46, Blessed Stanley Rother was killed in his church and became the first American-born martyr.
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