Fr. John Anthony Kaiser, MHM

kaiser_awardMill Hill Father and Perham, Minnesota native, Fr. John Anthony Kaiser was found dead on August 24, 2000 besides his pick-up truck near the Kenyan town of Navasha. In 2001, the former Kenyan government and the U.S. FBI concluded that Father Kaiser “most likely committed suicide.” Many people discount this theory, and later the new Kenyan government held a special inquest into his death.

Fr. Kaiser actually died of a gunshot wound to the back of his head. And eye witness testimony at the September 4, 2003 Inquest Hearings revealed that Father Kaiser was “dragged out of his pick-up by two men in a saloon car moments before a gunshot rang out” on the night of his murder (Kenyan Daily Nation of Sept. 5, 2003).

kaiser_funeralFr. Kaiser was honored prior to his death by the Law Society of Kenya for “Distinguished Service in the Promotion of Human Rights,” for his struggles for the rights of the internally displaced people in the infamous Tribal – land clashing in Kenya in the 1990’s. He also was an out-spoken critic of the former Kenyan government’s practices of land-grabbing. He became a “defender of the defenseless among his flock” (Law Society of Kenya, 2000) for his defense and promotion of justice for these displaced peoples of his parish and of the surrounding communities.

Fr. Kaiser is remembered in Kenya for his defense of people’s right to land, encouraging the powerless to speak and claim their rights, and for championing the cause of the innocent and powerless.


“My son if you aspire to serve the Lord,
Prepare yourself for an ordeal.
Be sincere of heart, be steadfast,
And do not be alarmed when disaster comes.
Cling to Him and do not leave Him,
So that you may be honored at the end of your days.

Whatever happens to you, accept it,
And in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient,
Since gold is tested in the fire,
And chosen men in the furnace of humiliation.”

– Sirach 2:1-5
(This bible verse was prayed every night by Fr. Kaiser prior to his death)


kaiser_bookThe Mission Office has numerous copies of video documentaries and books on Fr. Kaiser, which are available for loan from the office.  In addition, we sell some books on his life, including: “You Will See Fire: A Search for Justice in Kenya” by Christopher Goffard;  and the fictional book based on his life “The Collar and the Gun” by Dean Urdahl.

Although the Mission Office does not have copies available for sale, several other books can be found at bookstores or online.  Recommended titles include: Fr. Kaiser’s book (written post-humously) “If I Die,”  and “John the Martyr: Kifaru Wa Maskini” by Fr. John’s brother Francis Kaiser.  You can also check out the 2011 Zanzibar Film Festival award winning film, “The Rugged Priest.”