Back to church

A donor called the office and didn’t tell our staff what he needed, but only wanted to talk with me. I didn’t recognize the name, but returned his call. I never know what to expect, for those can range from questions about St. Josephs’ Indian School or the occasional theological question, “Please send me some more address labels”. When I reached him, he told me that after reading our letters and what we are trying to be about, he had gone back to church after many years. It had given him great peace of mind. It’s nice to know the impact we can occasionally have on people’s spiritual journeys!

This evening, I went to Lower Brule for the wake of a 32-year-old woman, mother of three, who was killed in a rollover when her car skidded on the ice last week. Those tragedies affect the whole community. One of her sons and a niece she looked after used to attend St. Joseph’s Indian School, and five nephews are current students, so I know the extended family well.

In the face of tragedy, it’s our caring actions that mean so much more than mere words.

On Rezervation in South Dakota, wake services seldom start at the announced time, but wait until people who need to be there are gathered. The time passed quickly for me, as I wandered around the hall visiting with people and  hearing news of their family and events in the community. After the regular vigil service, anyone who wanted to say a few words was invited to come to the microphone and speak. I shared a scripture from Lamentations, identifying with the family’s sad and broken hearts but calling for a trust in God, and urging them to help and support one another through such a difficult time.

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 89 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.

One thought on “Back to church”

  1. Dear Fr. Stewve,

    Please send our condolences to the family of that poor mother? Thanks.

    God Bless,

    Nancy & Kenny

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