OKLAHOMA CITY — When Father Stanley Rother, a missionary priest from Okarche, Oklahoma, was killed by rebels in Guatemala, his body was transferred back to the United States to be buried by his family.
But his heart remained in Guatemala.
The native Guatemalans loved their pastor so much that they enshrined his heart at the mission parish in Santiago Atitlan.
On Sept. 23, that heart will go from being a disembodied remain to a first-class relic, a sacred artifact of someone who has been beatified by the Catholic Church.
Sister Marita Rother Remembers Soon-to-Be ‘Blessed’ Father Stanley RotherShe recalls her older brother ‘as a devoted pastor, totally available to his people.’
Sister Marita Rother, 81, is the younger sister of martyred Father Stanley Rother (1935-81), the venerable servant of God who will be beatified Sept. 23.
The missionary priest was murdered in 1981 in his rectory amid the violence of the Guatemalan civil war. Sister Marita is a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ; she made first vows with the religious community in 1955 and final vows in 1960. The community is headquartered in Rome; its 2,500 members are involved in missionary work, nursing, social work and teaching. Sister Marita has served as a teacher and principal for more than 40 years and currently lives in Wichita, Kansas.