Local ties to “The Shepherd Who Didn’t Run”

A local family has direct ties to the first U.S. born martyr and first U.S. born priest to be beatified, Father Stanley F. Rother.

The children of the late George and Eileen Gassen; Dolores Mustachia, Bea Wohleb, Harold, Gerald, and Paul Gassen, Ellen Johnson, and Mary Stegall, are second cousins to Father Rother. Mrs. Gassen’s father and Father Rother’s mother were brother and sister. George and Eileen moved to the Franklin area in 1950 when Mr. Gassen built their home just outside of Elliott.

All seven children graduated from Franklin High School. The Gassen family was a devout Catholic family, which at that time was not very prevalent in the Franklin area. To have such a close relative declared a martyr and be given the title of Blessed by the Pope was beyond all expectations.


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