Father Otto Rauschenbach, M.M.

He gave his life to proclaim the gospel

rauschenbach1Otto Rauschenbach was born in St. Louis, Mo. on June 23, 1898, the seventh child in a family of nine.  He entered Maryknoll in 1918 following five years in the St. Louis Preparatory Seminary.  He was ordained on June 15, l924 and assigned to South China where he spent the next twenty-one years in Maryknoll's Kongmoon Vicariate. 

Father Otto was a tireless worker who put many new missions on a firm foundation.  In most cases these missions were built "from scratch".  His most important work, which did not win many converts at the time, was the breaking down of prejudice and fostering good will among the people.  Father used dispensaries and radio broadcasts to interest people in Christ's message.  He was also responsible for many buildings, including the attractive compound at Nanfau and a hospital at Toishan.  Thus, he sowed the seeds of future mission strength and the missioners who followed him reaped the rewards of his careful planning. 

During the last years of the Second World War, the Kongmoon Territory was partly occupied and completely encircled by the Japanese.  Father Rauschenbach was due to return to the States for a furlough but he chose to remain among his people to assist them in their time of need.  He had been living in the hills with some other missioners, but in order to administer the Sacraments to his Christians on the Feast of Pentecost, Father returned to an area infested with bandits.  Early on the morning of May 14, 1945, just after starting on his Journey, Father Otto was shot by one of these bandits.  The Chinese lost a great friend and Maryknoll a dedicated worker.  Bishop Paschang and Father Kennelley went out and found his body lying in a ditch.  They buried him there, not far from Watnam, later to be removed to Kongmoon when peace came again.