Had a patron coming in looking for information on a Bishop Rancans who resided here in Grand Rapids. This patron remembers their family had a picture of Bishop Rancans on their mantle while growing up and was trying to figure out why he was so important?
According to the book Where the Star Came to Rest Bishop Rancans was revered for trying to free Latvia, and was loved throughout the Latvian community in Grand Rapids and the world.
In Latvia he served as seminary professor, representative of Latvia to the Holy See and as leader of the underground resistance against Nazi Germany. He had to flee Latvia during the Soviet occupation in World War II.
He came to Grand Rapids as a political refugee after the war. While in Grand Rapids he worked not only as the spiritual leader of the Latvian community, but as chaplain at St. Ann’s Home. He died in 1969 and was buried in the city of Wyoming. In 1994 his remains were exhumed and he was buried in the Basilica of Aglona in a free and independent Latvia.
We were able to find a picture of Bishop Rancans from archival collection 266, Lucia Erins Latvian Americans of Grand Rapids Collection