Janet J. Escobedo, writing under the pen name, Janet James, was born in Washington DC and grew up in the northern Virginia suburbs. She spent 20 years as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Air Force between 1977-1997 and was in the first class of women to graduate from the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets in 1977. Following her 20-year Air Force career she became a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Play Therapist, and School Counselor, specializing in early childhood trauma and at-risk youth. She married Brian D. Escobedo in 1979 and has three grown children. Father Brian is currently the pastor of Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Church in San Diego, CA. He was ordained to the Byzantine Catholic priesthood in 2013.
Inspired by Father Stanley Rother, First American-Born Marytr
Blessed Stanley Francis Rother (March 27, 1935 – July 28, 1981) was an American Roman Catholic priest from Oklahoma who was martyred in Guatemala. Ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City in 1963, he held several parish assignments there until 1968 when he was assigned as a missionary priest to Guatemala where he was murdered in 1981 in his Guatemalan mission rectory.
Clearly, God had a plan for Blessed Stanley. Here was a man who had to repeat his seminary academics at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, MD because he couldn't grasp the Latin. His father even joked, "Why didn't you take Latin in high school instead of working so hard as a future farmer of America? Yet, this priest who struggled with Latin not only learned Spanish but learned to speak and write the Mayan Language Tz'utuhil fluently which was the language of his people. His farming background endeared him to the people of Santiago Atitlan who viewed him as one of their own. When he was martyred the Blessed Fr. Stanley's parents gave permission for the people to keep his heart where it remains today in Santiago Atitlan.