A final farewell

Sunday, July 28

My bags are packed and it is time for me to leave St. Joseph Indian School. I move on to new challenges and adventures that await me in the role of Provincial Superior of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Last week, I met a few of the new staff taking part in the LSCI (Life Space Crisis Intervention) training. All the new staff will be on campus Monday for their weeklong orientation. All our Child Services staff gathers on August 5 for training and preparation for the school year. Then comes my favorite day of the year (this year Sunday August 11)… when the homes open and the Lakota students begin returning!

I enjoy reconnecting with students and hearing about their summer. I check in with St. Joseph’s teachers and houseparents after their break. I will miss that day very much. I’ll miss getting to know the 40-something new students we’ve accepted into our program. I’ll miss working with our creative and passionate staff.

A college football coach was talking on Sportscenter the other night about his efforts at rebuilding. He had a great senior class, and this year’s incoming freshmen will have some big shoes to fill

“Seniors graduate every year . . .  but the legacy continues”

The same is true here. Students and staff will move on, but St. Joseph’s Indian School not only endures, it thrives. We have a great tradition and legacy here. I am grateful and blessed to have been part of it for the past nine years.

My last events were a mass Saturday evening and a social afterward in the Rec Center. I’ve had a host of farewells these past couple of weeks, and shed more than a few tears. The tears are both sadness at parting and joy from all that we’ve experienced and accomplished together. I felt a sense of joy for a last celebration, hug, or memory with people I’ve shared so much with.

We wrapped up shortly before 10. The sky outside was still a warm red and purple, lingering colors from a gorgeous sunset over the Missouri River. I will miss those spectacular sunsets. The fountain in front of the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center was still running, and the sound of water very soothing.

Our SCJ Founder, Leo John Dehon had a favorite scripture – Ecce Venio – Behold, I come to do your will O God.

In the quiet of the night, alone in the parking lot with just me and the Creator, I felt a deep sense of peace.

Difficult as it is to leave, I’ve come to a place of acceptance. I am ready to move on, looking forward to the next time I’ll return to enjoy all the amazing staff and students who grace this campus.

God Bless you always!

Fr. Steve

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

34 thoughts on “A final farewell”

  1. We are all going to miss you Father Steve. You are going on to do more and better work where you are needed and i pray to God that he carries you safe and with out harm in your trip to your new beginning. We will keep you in our prayers always and hope you will keep each of us in yours.,
    Have a safe trip to your new beginning. Its not good bye, but only farewell till we meet again. God Be with you always.

    william Bell

  2. Fr. Steve you are going to be missed in South Dakota…But think of all the ways you can be of help to your successor there..When he calls to talk to you about his concerns, problems you will have first hand knowledge of his trials!! St Joes’s hasn’t lost you, rather they have gained a blessing in you!!

  3. God speed, Father Steve, and may Jesus walk with you every step of your new journey!
    So many people love you and will miss you, especially the students you so lovingly took care of!
    Thank you……God bless you…. My prayers and thoughts go with you!
    Madelyn M 🙂

  4. I had traumatic brain injury in 2005. I finally made it back. (I used to donate to St Joseph Indian School…a dear friend, Robert Arroyos, (died of heart attack) may have said he was a Lakota… That’s why I was interested years ago and started donating-not a big amount-but all I could do. Since 2005, I didn’t remember until about a wk ago when I was visiting Crazy Horse! I was so glad to recognize your name and picture! Now you’re leaving:( Surely you will be keeping in touch Correct? I hope so. I wish you all the best and hope you can return often so the children will have you to look forward to. Will you be many miles away? I will keep you in my prayers.

    1. Thank you for your friendship and prayers, Marty!
      Hales Corners, Wisconsin, is near Milwaukee – just over 600 miles from St. Joseph’s Indian School. Fr. Steve will still serve on St. Joseph’s Board of Directors, so he will return to campus from time to time for meetings and other events. God bless!

  5. Fr. Steve’-
    I have been out of touch, but as I read this, this morning, I am stunned. Happiness is in my heart, where happiness is in yours’…; sadness, if sadness is in yours also. YOU have been my connection to the Lakota School, and I will definitely feel the void, as Special HEARTS, are felt through our spiritual airs’. They just connect, never knowing WHY or How?– I know the children are going to miss you, and you them. My heart is Praying that ALL is going to be a BLESSED’, beginning, of where you will be going and Again bring happiness and privilege to those that will again surround you. They just don’t realize how BLESSED they are truly going to be.–I will hold your true felt friendship in my Heart, through all the years ahead, and hope that there will be some way you can stay connected to your internet friends, and those that care so much for you, -JUST BECAUSE – “YOU ARE YOU”-, and it can be felt afar’. You have said many encouraging words in the past years to many, and that certainly includes those that are so BLESSED’, to just be internet correspondence. I hope to continue to send my offerrings, as time continues.
    It also would be WONDERFUL, for those’ of us’, that prefer to continue correspondence, to be allowed an internet address to you.
    MAY GOD BLESS YOU’, AND BE WITH YOU’, each and every step of the way ahead. WE ARE SO BLESSED’-
    My PRAYERS continue’-
    Cynthia MILLER’ – Skaggs
    Fort Worth, Texas

  6. Father Steve,
    Jim and I will miss seeing your wonderful smile the next time we are on campus. Happily though, we will always see the results of your efforts in the smiles and laughter we hear from all the children.
    We know that we will meet again. God bless you and thank you.

    Jim & Marianne

  7. Father Steve..We have come to love you..You have added depth and meaning to the lives of our family, here in Nebraska. We will pray often for you and for your success in all future endeavors…and we will also think of you often.. You will be sorely missed… So, Dear Friend, Vaya Con Dios.. Mia Archer

    “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies, because they become fashions”.                                          (G.K. Chesterton)                       


  8. We do not know why God sends us where He does until later but He does know best. May your life be forever blessed for all you have done at St. Joseph’s.

  9. May God be with you as you leave and enter a new priestly function. You have performed well and have been an obedient servant.May God bless you and keep you in his care.

  10. Father Steve, you are going to be missed by so many because you were and are a blessing to all who have crossed paths with you. You are a special servant of our Lord. I’ve felt a deep connection to you even though we’ve only met a couple times when we were delivering donations or attending the joyous Pow Wow. God speed, my friend. Cindy Andersen, Omaha, NE

  11. Where ever you may go you will be a blessing to all that come to know you.
    God bless. Happy trails to you.
    Lois Nycz

  12. Dear Fr. Steve, congratulations and my best wishes for your new position.It is good to know that you keep in touch with St. Joe’s..
    Blessings to you and kind regard,
    Inge from Frankfurt office

  13. Just when you start to feel comfortable the good Lord decides that others need you more. Father Steve, you will be missed but always in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for teaching me so much about Love and Charity.

    Tom Zawislak

  14. i stopped at the school in June to experience it and was looking forward to meeting you. sorry i missed.you. good luck in the future. i’m happy to see the kids have a good place to be. the Lakota have an honorable history.

  15. Dear Fr. Steve,
    May God watch over you in your new assignment. I have always felt blessed to be able to donate to St. Joseph’s. I know you will be missed by all your friends at the school. Wishing you all God’s blessings.
    Austin, TX

  16. I feel so grateful to have a chance to meet you through internet. Even though I haven’t met you in person I could feel love and caring. It’s like I miss you already and I don’t wanna miss you. I feel I’ll need you and you are an answer to my prayers. Thanks for doing so much for the children and I really wanna visit the school someday. Thank you for all the blessings. Be happy!

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