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The three also happen to be professed religious, two of them at St. Benedict’s Abbey at the college’ Atchison, Kansas, campus.
Blessed Stanley Rother, who was beatified in September 2017, is related to Abbot James Albers, OSB, and Father Meinrad Miller, OSB, a theology instructor at the college. Abbot James’ sister, Sister Mary Elizabeth Albers of the Society of the Most Holy Trinity is also a consecrated distant cousin of the martyred Oklahoma farm boy.
Father Meinrad graduated from Benedictine College in 1989. Abbot James graduated in 1994. Sister Mary Elizabeth graduated in 2004 and was recently featured in Columbia magazine.
Father Stanley Rother of Okarche, Okla., was murdered July 28, 1981, while serving at the mission of Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala. In December 2016, Pope Francis declared Father Rother a martyr, clearing the path for his beatification. Above, watch the story of his heroic death.
The cousins spoke to The Leaven about their connections.
“My name, before becoming a monk, was Stanley. An aunt of mine told me I should keep my name because I had a relative who was a priest who was killed in Guatemala,” Father Meinrad said.
The two monks attended the beatification ceremony in Oklahoma City and spoke about it to The Leaven.
“This is a historic moment in the American church, and I think we’re going to see many fruits,” the abbot said.
“Going to the beatification of Blessed Stanley Rother was much more for me than going to a social event for a distant relative,” said Father Meinrad. “Blessed Stanley, through baptism, is related to all of us. In Christ, we all are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of our merciful Father. It was this awareness that led to his martyrdom. For him there were no second-class citizens.”
“When he insisted on seeing the humanity and the face of Christ in all people he was put on death lists,” Father Meinrad said. “In spite of this, he did not give in to fear, but trusted God. He told people that, if he should be killed, they should light the Easter candle and sing Easter hymns. The awareness of the resurrection of Christ flooded his soul.”
Father Meinrad concluded, “I think he will become a model, for ordinary, hard-working people who do not abandon their faith, but always trust in the goodness of God.”
Photo courtesy St. Benedict’s Abbey.