Catholicism in Oklahoma grew slowly. Three hundred years passed before it was officially established by Benedictine missionaries in 1875. And it was until 1905 when the original diocese was established in Oklahoma.
The slow and steady development of the Church in Oklahoma eventually bore great fruit. Many saintly figures have passed through, such as St. Katharine Drexel and Bl. Stanley Rother. Many churches in Tulsa and Oklahoma city have relics of Bl. Stanley. There are still family and friends of Bl. Stanley still alive today. In fact, his cousin is a priest in Oklahoma.
One of the more striking Catholic institutions is an active Catholic School that was originally founded by St. Katharine Drexel. Holy Family Classical School is a beautiful testament to St. Katharine’s presence and mission. The school provides a robust education that is authentically Catholic. The students, faculty, and larger community feel the impact of St. Katharine’s intercession still today. It is an awe-inspiring experience to walk the halls she once did, continuing the mission she started.
Bl. Stanley Rother’s impact is similarly taking on new life. The diocese of Oklahoma City has built a shrine dedicated to his memory. The shrine was a massive undertaking, and the structure is an impressive 6,000 square feet. The design is Spanish mission style, to honor the style of his parish in Guatemala. Given the fact that he died relatively recently in terms of the history of the church, the faithful have unprecedented access to historical artifacts and details pertaining to his life and mission.
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