First US priest to be named a martyr by Catholic Church had roots on the farm

(Gazette) The teen couldn’t wait to tell his family and friends about the revelation that came to him as he was driving a tractor one afternoon on his family’s property in this tight-knit farming community with German roots.

Stanley Rother told his parents that instead of working on the family farm, as he’d always envisioned, he felt that God wanted him to enter the Catholic priesthood.

Though Franz Rother had assumed his oldest son would follow in his footsteps as a lifelong farmer, as a devoted Catholic, he didn’t miss a beat.

“Well, why didn’t you take Latin?” he asked.

Stanley Rother’s proclamation that afternoon was one of at least two life-changing decisions that he made while looking out on the horizon at the Rother family farm a few miles west of Okarche’s only stoplight.

His younger brother Tom Rother, now 77, remembers both very well. [More]