Blessed Stanley Rother

Oklahoma City

This new Shrine is designed as the final resting place of Blessed Stanley Rother, a priest from rural Oklahoma who was martyred in Guatemala in 1981, and is currently on the path to sainthood. The inspiring story of his life and service to the poor is told here to the pilgrims that will come to honor his legacy.

Located on a large parcel to the South of the downtown area, this new complex is centered around a Shrine church that seats 2,000 and a chapel that seats 150. The church features a large dome at the crossing of the nave and transepts, clearly visible from the nearby highway. The front of the church features a pair of towers flanking the main entrance. Extending out in front of the church is a large zocalo (or plaza), with a central fountain, that serves as the focal point for large gatherings as well as to connect the church to the surrounding buildings and the landscape beyond. The zocalo is bordered by a covered arcade that provides protection from rain and sun.

Flanking the church and the zocalo are a pair of buildings. One building houses a museum with exhibits telling the story of Blessed Stanley’s life, as well as a Pilgrim Center with a gift shop and café, along with offices for the Shrine staff. On the opposite side of the zocalo, a large multi-purpose event hall and classrooms for religious education is currently being planned.

Architecturally, the entire complex is designed in the Spanish Baroque style which features stucco, arches, tile roofs, exuberant detailing at important doorways, covered walkways, and paved terraces. This architecture recalls the character of the Guatemalan village where Father Stanley served the poor and was martyred. The landscape around the Shrine is designed to accommodate gatherings and festival processions, as well as contemplative gardens for private prayer.

Photography: Mel Willis & Michael Franck