May 22, 2009

REAL PEOPLE, REAL SAINTS: The Rev. Lawrence Rosebaugh, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, worker amongst the poorest of the poor--murdered

·The Reverend Lawrence Rosebaugh· ¨served the poorest of the poor¨

The Rev. Lawrence Rosebaugh, a 74-year-old priest who studied at a seminary in Belleville but spent most of his life living among the poor in Central and South America, was shot to death Monday during a robbery in Guatemala.

"As a priest, he was not the collar type of priest," said his close friend, Sam Hladyshewsky, of Shiloh, who attended the former St. Henry's Preparatory Seminary in Belleville with Rosebaugh during the late 1950s.

"When you looked at him, you'd think he was the poorest of the poor. And those are the ones he served," said Hladyshewsky, a former priest.

The funeral will be today in Guatemala City, according to the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, of which Rosebaugh had long been a member. The international missions group operates the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville.

"He lived on the street most of the time because he ministered to the homeless," said the Rev. Allen Maes, an Oblate priest at the shrine.

Rosebaugh, of Milwaukee, was shot multiple times by masked gunmen who stopped a car carrying him and four other missionaries en route to a meeting in Playa Grande, Guatemala. The attackers took about $125, a cellular telephone and religious ornaments. A spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City said she could not legally provide any information about Rosebaugh's death.

"Lorenzo's violent and unexpected death has given us another saint," said the Rev. Felix Garcia, a member of Rosebaugh's missionary group in Guatemala. Rosebaugh had served as a missionary for about 10 years in the Central America country.

Rosebaugh, whose late mother, Mildred Rosebaugh, lived for years in the apartment community at the shrine, often returned to the metro-east and was looking forward to retiring here within a few years. He published his autobiography, "To Wisdom Through Failure," in 2006.

In April, Rosebaugh, who signed his letters "Lorenzo," sent e-mails to Hladyshewsky, telling his friend about his work at a Guatemala hospital ministering to AIDS victims and helping street people. He also spoke of working with the sisters of Mother Teresa and of providing a liturgy at a vigil for two boys, ages 13 and 16, murdered by gangs in one of the poorest sections of Guatemala City.

In another recent message, Rosebaugh wrote: "This Holy Week I had three good days of retreat by myself in a great quiet place with beautiful trees and nature, only to view the devastated living conditions of the poorest just across the way. To have that reality so close made for an even better Holy Week for me." read it all, the full story regarding the life of Padre Lorenzo, click HERE

"To Wisdom Through Failure" By Lawrence Rosebaugh, OMI

Larry Rosebaugh is a modern-day St. Francis, and meeting him years ago was a great blessing in my life. His gentle spirit, brave heart and deep love for the poor and oppressed give us hope in today’s struggle for peace and justice. To Wisdom Through Failure is a wonderful book that will inspire, challenge and touch your heart deeply.” — Fr. Roy Bourgeois, MM, School of the Americas Watch

¨This week, we found out that a very dear friend was killed in Guatemala. Fr. Lorenzo has been working in Guatemala ministering to the poor in the hospitals and the children with aids. He was on his way to a meeting on Monday when robbers shot him. Just the Monday before, he was visiting us and telling us of his plans to return to work in St. Louis. He was 74 years old and has led a very humble life style. Fr. Lorenzo has celebrated the Mass with us on special occasions. We have no doubt that he is receiving the true blessings of his holy life, but we will feel the sadness and the loss of a friend.¨ Elizabeth and Tom McCullough

"To Wisdom Through Failure," 2006, by The Reverend Lawrence Rosebaugh, click HERE to find out the details on how to secure a copy of his book

·Thanks to The Associated Press
·Thanks to George Pawlaczyk, News-Democrat
·Thanks to The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
·Thanks to Flickr Photosharing


Brian R said...

So sorry for you and the people to whom he ministered but am sure he has entered into God's rest.

Leonard said...

Brian, this man was a wonderful and gentle soul...I remembered I have a large bottle of Holy Water he blessed that is behind the sofa in my Sala/Gallery...he gave a Palm Sunday Mass here a couple of years ago in my home...I last saw him at a Christmas Party one afternoon shortly before last Christmas...the party was in honor of the regular folks in the pueblo and their HUGE families of children, grandchildren...hotdogs, coleslaw, nachos, lemonade and´s a annual event and some of us help with the cooking and serving...there was Fr. Larry playing soccer with the kids (dozens of them) on a huge lawn all afternoon...he was a loving and kind man and apparently the car got gunned down when the passengers refused to stop for the bandits and gunned the car to get away...the robbery took place far out in the rural Quiche I understand.

What a wonderful man of Peace...actually he was a Peace advocate who lived amongst poor people in the Mixco supberb of Guatemala City.

David G. said...

I think you should temporarily move back to the States, ...for you and Juan Carlos's safety!!

Florida is cheap now, .... not that I'll see you, ...just a suggestion for your preferred climate.

(Not like seeing you would be bad, but my situation limits my travel)

I Cry For My Future!!

Leonard said...

Dear David,

Thanks for the kind and concerned words...I think Florida is a good alternative as I´m a Florida ¨citizen/resident¨ at the moment and vote from my Florida address...I have a great friend in Orlando and she would like to see me there too...maybe, one the moment, JC has no American Visa and unless the legislation passes that allows partners of people like us to be ¨with us¨ in the United States it makes any relocating unthinkable. Yes, there is terrible violence here and there is terrible violence there too (all I need do is watch Anderson Cooper 360 each night on CNN International)...but truly, the level of unpunished crime that exists here is astoundingly bad...and yes, it can be dangerous driving in the far reaches of the campo as we just saw with Fr. Larry´s murder. I love Mexico too but they have pockets of viscious drug problems...Americans are ¨generally¨ avoided here by criminals because the Government, read military, doesn´t want us harmed...we bring the FBI, and bad TRAVEL WARNINGS if we are hurt and then tourism falls to nil...right now it is very bad economically because there are few tourists and the remittances (people living and working in the States who send money home each month) are dropping very low...¨remittances¨ is the LARGEST element of income in this country. You can imagine what happens when the poor aren´t getting their wire transfers each month and their is little work here...yes, corruption and violence.

Interestingly, this country is beautiful, filled with lovely people and is abundant in so many positive´s just that when it´s bad, well, it´s really bad. Yesterday a bus driver (and his assistant) were shot in the bus by a robber...the bus was going to a nearby Pueblo close to me...that Pueblo has a ¨reputation¨ of crime and violence...mine does not as the ¨jefe´s¨ of this town keep it very clean and are VERY tough characters themselves (I like it)...I feel safe here as do most people...elsewhere, well, it´s a different story at the moment.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

How very very sad! A loss to all. My thoughts go out to you and JC!

Leonard said...

Dearest Reverend Göran, So glad to see you back with us and I hope your move to the island went smoothly...I think of you most everyday and always wish you add so much to many of our lives online and Cany was looking for you too (I wrote her that you were most likely settling in).


Len and Juan Carlos

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Thank you dearest Leonardo!

The move went smothly, but I didn't have any Internet connection until today - and now the telephone line is dead!

Jane R said...

Dear Leonardo, I am so sorry for your loss and the world's loss of this holy man. Thank you for telling us about him so richly.

Love to you and JC,

Jane (and +Maya Pavlova, the feline bishop, who is sitting here with the white paw of blessing extended in front of her)

JimB said...

Leonardo, tears for you loss.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.


motheramelia said...

Such a terrible loss. Thank you for telling us about this wonderful man. Poverty is so cruel and those who serve God by serving in such places are truly saints.

Anonymous said...

A giant. I wish I had known him to. Love to you.