MayaWorks' Clerical Stoles: Legacy of Father Stanley Rother
MayaWorks’ fair trade clerical stoles are hand woven by indigenous Tz’utujil artisans of Panabaj Santiago along the majestic shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Fifteen artisans have been perfecting their liturgical stoles on treadle foot looms since 1970 when Catholic priest, Stanley Rother, encouraged them to weave stoles as a source of income. Father Rother, or Padre Aplás as he was affectionately known, dearly loved the Tz’utujil people and was moved by the extreme poverty in which they lived. He sought a form of sustainable income for the Tz’utujil people that would lift them out of poverty. Father Rother believed there was a market for clerical stoles handcrafted by the master Mayan weavers. In the mid 1990s MayaWorks began opening markets for their clerical stoles in the U.S. and Canada and soon was selling them as far away as Australia!
In takes 15 hours to make one stole. The thread is washed and soaked in corn gruel and is dried in the sun. Once dried, the thread is ready for the loom. The artisan prepares the loom heddles taking care to create the proper symbols of the stole. Finally the artisan is ready to weave! Hours are spent being lulled by the crack, crack, crack of the loom as the artisan weaves a masterpiece!
MayaWorks' fair trade clerical stoles are 100% cotton and available in variegated and solid designs. You can purchase our stoles online on our secure website.
MayaWorks fair trade clerical stoles are one of its best selling products. Artisans are paid a fair wage for their work and also benefit from scholarships for their daughters and microcredit loans to expand their businesses. The money earned from weaving stoles has allowed Tz’utujil artisans to support their families and participate in the economic development of their communities.
Sadly, Padre Aplás was murdered during Guatemalan’s civil war but his legacy lives on in the stoles of the Tz’utujil artisans.