Former Tulsa priest Father Stanley Rother was named the first martyr and saint from the U.S. after he was murdered in 1981 in Guatemala. His beatification ceremony was on this day in 2017 in Oklahoma City.
A martyr is someone who dies out of “odium fidei,” or hatred for the faith, said said Diocese of Tulsa Bishop David Konderla. If Rother had been killed in an accident, he would not be considered a martyr.
But Rother was murdered for speaking out in favor of the poor and marginalized who were being oppressed at the time, he said.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Konderla said at the time.
“It’s a relatively rare thing. Here’s this guy from Okarche, Oklahoma, a farm boy, who struggled so badly with academics in seminary that he was dismissed after the first year,” Konderla said.
“He reapplies to a different seminary, finishes, and goes to Guatemala, to a people without a published language, manages to learn the language and then helps them translate the Bible into their language. It’s kind of amazing.”