Meet Our Missionaries
Fr. Stanley, a native of South Bend, IN, has been a missionary in the Dominican Republic for the past 51 years. Fr. Stan lived for many years in the southwest (the poorest region of the country), but is now the rector of the central CICM house in Santo Domingo, the capital.
The other missionaries in the DR come to the house to get medical care that isn’t available in other areas and to rest, relax, and “blow off steam”. Fr. Stanely tries to do what he can to encourage and inspire them to go back to doing their work in the interior to the country. He even looks for new recipes to cook in order to bring joy to his brother priests. “The guys never know what’s going to be on the table for them.” he says with a twinkle in his eye.
Because he spent so much of his life in the mission field, Fr. Stanley is able to empathize with the priests who come to the house seeking respite.
When asked to recall a particularly moving experience during his time as a missionary, Fr. Stanley launched into a story that he said taught him “the true meaning of poverty”: “In my last parish, Holy Spirit, of an old village that is now part of Santo Domingo, I had the opportunity to send young people to a six month course to become lay leaders in their communities--both religious and civil. I found some young men and women that I thought would be good for this, and I interviewed each of them.”
One interview in particular struck him. Fr. Stanley told one of the boys from a poor family in the village that he wanted to send him to this course, but the boy protested that he could never afford it. Father told him that, of course, the Church would pay for it.
The boy continued to protest, saying, “Look, Father, in my house, we have a towel for my father, a towel for my mother, a towel for my sisters, and a towel that I share with my brother. Well, if I go to this course, I’ll have to take the towel; how are my brothers going to bathe?”
Fr. Stan went to get a clean towel for him, but the boy still objected, because he was concerned about the holes in his underwear; he didn’t want to be laughed at in the dorms. When Fr. Stan got the boy some new underwear, he finally consented to go. That night, before he fell asleep, Fr. Stan cried. He cried, first of all, because the boy had confidence in him to reveal such intimate information. He also cried because Fr. Stan grew up in what is considered a poor family by U.S. standards, but he never knew poverty like this boy’s.
Your spiritual support, Fr. Stan says, is even more essential. “I could not have stayed in the Dominican Republic 51 years without people praying for me. The Lord sees you praying for missionaries and the people we serve, and he looks at us and he sees what we need, and attentive to you who has prayed for us, he gives us what we need."
Your prayers — along with your caring monthly gift — will enable Fr. Stanley and his fellow missionaries to continue to love, serve, teach, and pastor the the people of the Dominican Republic.
Would you consider becoming a monthly sponsor to support our missionaries' work?