07/25/17 Tuesday in Spokane Valley, WA (HOME)
On our pilgrimage to Montana Catholic sites, we first saw the St. Ignatius Mission on the Flathead Indian reservation.
This church, named after St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, was built in 1891. This happened only after 4 separate delegations of Indians went to Father Peter DeSmet pleading for missionaries. In response, he sent educational and religious help for the Salish and Kootenai tribes. Within 35 years this mission included a large school, a sawmill, a printing press, flour mill, hospital, farm and the present church.
The murals in this church (stunning when you first enter) were painted by Brother Joseph Carignano, SJ, the mission cook.
I loved the “shell” piece they placed over the speaker’s podium. Note the area marked for repairs on the painting of Mary. Considering how old this building is, they’ve done a great job of trying to keep it in shape.
There were paintings of many saints, including St. Francis of Assisi and St. Gonzaga.
The Ursuline sisters who arrived in 1890, began the first kindergarten, then later staffed a boarding school and a day school. By 1972 all were closed.
Providence sisters were the first Catholic nuns in Montana. They came from Canada in 1864, running the first Catholic boarding school in Montana until it burned in 1919. These sisters also ran a hospital until 1914, when real doctors and nurses came to staff it. In 1977, due to a shortage of personnel, the hospital was given to the community of St. Ignatius.
This building was the first home of the Providence sisters. Inside are historical explanations and a lovely painting by Brother Carignano.