07/28/2022 – Blessed Stanley Rother

Blessed Stanley Rother, who was martyred 41 years ago today by Guatemalan rebels is the first American born martyr to be beatified. And although it is his martyrdom that brought him to public attention, it is something else in his story that we should notice.

We are in the midst of a “vocation crisis” in the West. Ageing priests with few replacements bodes ill for the future of our parishes. Yet Fr Stanley’s vocation story points to a solution.

“Life for the Rother family centered on the family, the farm and on the Church and its traditions. From an early age, Stanley and his four siblings learned the importance of prayer and of praying together as a family.

After supper every night, they knelt by their chairs around the kitchen table to pray the Rosary. Daily and seasonal religious practices “were integrated into our daily life,” said Sister Marita. “We prayed a lot together as a family, and I know that’s what drew us closer.”

It is in this ordinary life that Stanley first experienced a personal encounter with the Good Shepherd, where he learned what it meant to live as a disciple of Jesus. This is where he learned to be a man of prayer, a hands-on servant with a resolute desire to become a priest.” (Our Sunday Visitor)

Though there are many wonderful vocations among converts and reverts, in the normal course of things priestly and religious vocations come from Catholic families of prayer especially the family rosary.

We might want to point to young people and blame them for the lack of vocations. But vocations generally start with parents and grandparents. It is time to ask is prayer at the centre of our home or a screen? Does our family prioritise the Mass and Rosary or Netflix and Instagram? Do we talk about saints or celebrities? The solution is in our hands and it looks and feels like our rosary beads!