Larry Rosebaugh

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Lawrence "Larry" Rosebaugh (sometimes called Lorenzo) (May 16, 1935 – May 18, 2009) was an American streetwise priest and peace activist from Wisconsin who was murdered by masked gunmen in Guatemala in 2009.[1][2]


Rosebaugh was born in Appleton, Wisconsin on May 16, 1935, the son of Donald and Mildred (O’Gorman) Rosebaugh. He attended St. Henry’s Seminary in Belleville, Illinois, and did his college and theological studies at Our Lady of Snows Scholasticate, the Oblate seminary in Pass Christian, Mississippi. He took his first vows as a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in August 1957, and was ordained to the priesthood in March 1963.


After teaching high school in Duluth, Minnesota and Chicago, he came to Milwaukee in 1968 and worked at Milwaukee's Casa Maria Hospitality House, a facility linked with the Catholic Worker movement which gives shelter to homeless families and women.

He was one of the Milwaukee 14, a group of peace activists (mostly Catholic clergy) who in September 1968 broke into Milwaukee draft board offices, removing and burning some of the files in a nearby park while holding a prayer service. Like most members of the "Milwaukee Fourteen", Rosebaugh served twenty months in prison for his action.[3]

Brazil, NYC, Central America[edit]

In 1975, Rosebaugh was assigned to the missions in Brazil, where he spent 6 years. In 1977, Rosebaugh and a Mennonite lay worker were serving the poor in Recife in Brazil. The men were detained and arrested by police. They claimed they were beaten and stripped during their detention. U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter later met the missionaries while on a goodwill tour of Latin America.

Rosebaugh came back to the United States in 1981. He was a member of the Catholic Worker House community in New York City for 4 years; spent some time in Nuevo Gualcho, Usulutan, El Salvador as a volunteer with Christian Volunteer Ministries rebuilding after the civil war.


In 1993 he was assigned to the Oblate mission in Guatemala, where he was serving when he was killed.[4] In 2002, Among others, He was included in a book written by Michael Palecek and William Strabala: Prophets Without Honor: A Requiem for Moral Patriotism, . He later returned to the United States to be with his dying mother, and remained there to write a memoir, To Wisdom Through Failure: A journey of Compassion, Resistance and Hope, published in 2006.

Rosebaugh served 10 years as a missionary in Guatemala. He ministered to youth with AIDS, crime victims and the impoverished elderly. Rosebaugh was murdered May 18, 2009 by masked gunmen in northern Guatemala. At the time of the attack, Rosebaugh was in a van with four other Oblates who were headed to a meeting in Playa Grande, Guatemala. Another priest was wounded. While the attack was supposedly a carjacking, the killers escaped without taking the vehicle.[5] On October 28, 2009, Guatemalan police captured Pedro Choc, Miguel Xo Botzoc and Alfredo Xo. However, after almost six months of trial, the court of Coban found them innocent and they were set free for purported lack of hard evidence, despite the fact that the bullet found in Rosebaugh's corpse, according to ballistics experts, matched one of the guns, a .22 caliber automatic Magnum owned by Choc.[6]