St. Joseph’s celebrates second Sunday of Advent with Pipe Organ Mass

After nearly three years of “silence,” the pipe organ in the choir loft at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel thrilled under

Clare, St. Joseph's Director of Pastoral Care and Native American Studies
Clare, St. Joseph’s Director of Pastoral Care and Native American Studies

the fingertips of local music teacher and organist Faye S. on December 7, 2014 – the Second Sunday of Advent. It was a special event set in motion by the annual tuning visit of Radanovich & Associates, the company that built and installed the organ. Joseph Radanovich had reminded Aaron (Faye’s son and employee of St. Joseph’s Indian School) that, unlike many instruments that grow out-of-tune by use, the organ must be played.

That reminder led to a collaboration between Faye and me, which resulted in the special Mass. Some 20 students attended a practice with Faye the Wednesday beforehand. The purpose of the practice was not only to polish the Advent music sung only during this season, but also to get past the jitters and excitement of singing from the choir loft – a rare treat.

When Sunday morning arrived, Faye teased powerful, expressive praise from the organ, accompanied by Aaron on the bass. The choir filled the loft with their presence and Our Lady of Sioux with their song: Come, come, Emmanuel; Son of God appear. Heaven and earth rejoice. Salvation is drawing near.

The assembly below bustled with a true sense of rejoicing. Following the celebration, many offered notes and comments of appreciation.

What a joy to have the opportunity to celebrate this season of joyful anticipation in this way! And what a remarkable thing that this organ, which was a gift to St. Joseph’s, can continue to bless and praise through the years.

Of interest: The organ was donated by St. Aloysius Parish of West Allis, Wisconsin, and dedicated on June 22, 1998. Joseph Radanovich was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he is owner of Radanovich & Associates. He lists his heritage as Polish, Serbian, Croatian, Hungarian, Russian and Jewish, with a splash of Swedish, Spanish, Irish and North African just for flavor! A Byzantine Catholic, he follows Native American spirituality as well. Adopted into a Lakota Sun Dance family at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which straddles North and South Dakota, he is a Pipe Carrier and Traditional Dancer.

Seeing the work of St. Joseph’s Indian School with Fresh Eyes

St. Joseph’s Indian School recently hosted students Marie and Luci, and their chaperone Blandine from

Claire works with St. Joseph's students in the homes and at school.

Chateauxroux, France. Cultural exchanges like this are exciting, since it gives our Lakota (Sioux) students a chance to see a world that is different from their own.   Since I speak a little French, I accompanied our visitors on several occasions. Though they needed very little help with translation, some of our customs seemed unusual to them.

In Native American Studies class, Blandine shared a book about the Berry region of France, and the students listened with interest. They had questions about holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving –which the French don’t celebrate.   (No trick or treats? No pumpkin pie? Say what?) Our students wanted to know how long French school days were, and what French people liked to eat, and whether there were buffalo in France. In Art class they got to try the French craft of scoubidou (braiding plastic thread into lanyards).

Visitors from France spent time in our Native American Studies class.
St. Joseph’s visitors from France enjoyed time with the sixth graders.

In turn, it was fun to show off some of the finer examples of Lakota culture that are incorporated into our curriculum—the reading of the Our Father in Lakota every morning, and the singing of the Lakota Flag Song. Our French visitors got to see some regalia and watch some dancing. I was proud of our students when they demonstrated traditional greetings and phrases in Lakota.

Then our visitors wanted to see the Indian Reservations where many of our students live. This was a bit uncomfortable at times. On one hand, it was important for them to see where the kids come from and why they need to be at St. Joseph’s Indian School. On the other hand, I felt protective and a little bit defensive.

Driving past some of the burned-out houses was awkward. When I looked through the eyes of our visitors, I saw homes in disrepair, gang graffiti, trash and scary Halloween decorations (which didn’t really help matters any).

Many students resent a blighted picture being painted of their homes, and I can understand this. I wanted to explain that this may be where people live but is certainly not all of who they are. I wanted to bridge the gap between the beautiful cultural lessons of the classroom and the ugly landscape of the Rez, but I couldn’t. There was too much history here, and too much despair. My pitiful French wasn’t up to the task of expressing it. I was grateful for the compassion on the eyes of our guests.

Some parts of the reservations are quite beautiful, with sweeping views of the hills and river valley. We visited Big Bend, a place where the river makes a tight loop, leaving a spit of land only a few miles across. There we toured an earth lodge – a reproduction of a typical Mandan home – like those that would have been found on this site a few centuries ago. Then we hiked up the hills to a high point where we could see for miles around.

Maybe the best part of having visitors was the gift of being able to stop and see the work of St. Joseph’s with fresh eyes.

I saw the contrast between the plight on the reservations and the calming structure of our homes and school. I saw the strong, positive connections between staff and students. Since our visitors were also benefactors, I was also keenly aware of what sacrifices they made in order to be able to provide these good things to our students.

At their school in France, students gave up one meal during Lent and ate only rice. The money they saved they sent to St. Joseph’s Indian School as a gift.

I want to thank them, and all our benefactors, for making our school possible.


Lakota children celebrate Red Ribbon Week

Good morning friends of St. Joseph’s!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain
Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

This week, the Lakota (Sioux) students join thousands of others in celebrating drug free lifestyles with Red Ribbon Week. Monday, students wore their pajamas to class to remind one another ‘Follow your dreams — don’t do drugs.’ Tuesday, they showed their drug free school spirit by wearing blue and gold. Later in the week, they will be wearing special sobriety celebration T-shirts that say ‘Our School has SWAG (Students Who Achieve Goals).

Friday, of course, is Halloween. The children have had a wonderful time preparing ghoulish costumes and decorating their homes. Wendy manages our in-kind gifts and has collected a good supply of costumes and accessories for the day. After trick or treating on St. Joseph’s campus, students will gather in the rec center for the Costume Grand March. Prizes will be awarded for best costume, scariest pumpkin and the home with the cleverest decorations.

St. Joseph’s holds sobriety celebrations with the Lakota students three times per year.
Monday, students wore their pajamas to class to remind one another ‘Follow your dreams — don’t do drugs.’

Pilamayathank you – for your donations of gently used decorations and other items for every holiday of the year!

In addition to these festivities, preparations have begun for those students participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) program to receive Baptism, First Communion or Confirmation. With the support of their families, students have the chance to learn about and deepen their faith commitment in a special class offered each week. Families join their students on campus for a one-day retreat to offer support and encouragement to their child.  Please keep these young people and families in your prayers as they prepare to receive these Sacraments in April.

I spent Monday at a board meeting in Eagle Butte, South Dakota.  As part of St. Joseph’s outreach to Native Americans, we support a domestic violence shelter, a thrift store and an adolescent care facility on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation You can read more about their work and other outreach programs of St. Joseph’s Indian School.

I hope each of you has a great week and a fun Halloween! Remember, this weekend we move our clocks BACK an hour.  Enjoy that extra hour of sleep!


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Ending one season, starting another at St. Joseph’s Indian School

Good afternoon from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain
Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Last week, we had a staff appreciation breakfast and handed out a small lapel pin to everyone. We’ve shared a pin each year over the last several years and ask staff to wear them, especially on the 19th of each month. This day corresponds with the feast of St. Joseph in March and is also when we end the monthly novena of Masses we offer for our benefactors (the novena begins on the 11th of each month).

The pin gives all of us a visual reminder of our benefactors’ generosity. As we lift all of you up in prayer, we renew our commitment to use the resources you provide to the best of our ability in reaching out to meet the needs of the Lakota (Sioux) students and their families. Pilamayathank you – for sharing your blessings!

The St. Joseph’s Braves finished their season playing the Chieftains from the Crow Creek Reservation.
St. Joseph’s football team burst onto the field to start their last game!

Our volleyball and football seasons were also wrapped up last week. The girls earned a victory against the Warriors from Pierre Indian Learning Center (PILC) to close their volleyball season. At home, the football team hosted Crow Creek.

There are several students from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation who attend St. Joseph’s, so many players knew each other. There was great cheering from the crowd as many students and staff had come out to watch the boys play.

It was a close game! Everyone played hard and the Crow Creek Chieftains came out with a 50-46 win over St. Joseph’s Braves.

As the nets, cleats and pads are put away, our students will unpack their sneakers and gym shorts and get ready for basketball. The girls begin team practices next week and the boys will play in St. Joseph’s inter-city league on Sundays. After Christmas break, the boys and girls will switch – the boys will begin their regular basketball season and the girls will play inter-city league.

We hope you all have a great week.

Know we keep you in our prayers asking God to bless you and keep you healthy and happy.


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Another wonderful powwow at St. Joseph’s Indian School

What a great celebration!

St. Joseph’s Royalty Joe, Diamond and Shawnna are pictured with Fr. Anthony.
Joe was named Eagle Staff Bearer; Diamond, Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s and Shawnna, Miss St. Joseph’s.

Powwow activities started last Thursday when two busloads of visitors went on a tour of the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Indian Reservations just north of Chamberlain. A ‘meet & greet’ Thursday evening allowed our visitors to ask questions of our Child Services Staff.

Friday, guests gathered for various cultural activities at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. Later that day, the students gave tours of their classrooms. Afterwards, everyone gathered at the rec center for the announcement of our powwow royalty — Miss St. Joseph’s, Jr., Miss St. Joseph’s and our Eagle Staff Bearer, who would lead the Grand Entry on Saturday.

Mr. Dallas Chief Eagle then presented a hoop dance.  Friday concluded with the annual Tiyospaye Banquet, where we drew for a Lakota Star Quilt (won by a benefactor from California). There were also silent auctions and the live auction of hand-painted piece by Del Iron Cloud, a St. Joseph’s graduate and our Distinguished Alumni Award winner.

Saturday did indeed live up to all the predictions and was an answer to our prayers. The sun was out with no clouds in the sky, but it was a bit breezy. As the day progressed, it warmed up and turned out to be a beautiful day, great for the dancers.

The morning began with the dedication of the new playground equipment.  We were honored to have the benefactor who was the driving force behind the project present to help cut the ribbon with Miss St. Joseph’s.

Grand Entry at powwow is led by St. Joseph’s Eagle Staff Bearer and veteran alumni carrying flags.
St. Joseph’s Eagle Staff Bearer led Grand Entry, followed by St. Joseph’s veteran alumni carrying the flags.

Afterwards, our grass dancers helped bless the powwow grounds and prayers were offered asking the Great Spirit to help the dancers do their best and to make the whole day a rewarding experience for everyone.  The Colors were carried by an Honor Guard made up of military veterans who were St. Joseph’s alumni.  All veterans were invited to march in following the colors. Veterans were invited to introduce themselves, tell what branch of service they served in and where they have been stationed.  We were especially honored to have a World War II veteran with us.

Another highlight of the day was the presence of Mr. Casimir LeBeau, one of two surviving members of the student body that started at St. Joseph’s when the school opened in 1927.  He shared some thoughts with the crowd and then became the centerpiece as the 64 alumni who were present gathered around him for a group picture.

As the competitive dancing came to an end, we had Mass at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel. Several of our dancers attended in full regalia and danced accompanied by St. Joseph’s drum group.  After Mass was over, everyone gathered for dinner and prizes for the dancers and drum groups.

It was a wonderful weekend! Be sure to watch our powwow video and consider making plans to attend our 39th powwow on September 19, 2015!

We thank you for your many prayers.  May God’s blessings continue to be with you and yours.

See more powwow pictures in our Flickr album!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


If only you could have heard the joy that erupted from St. Joseph’s this morning…

Greetings from South Dakota and happy powwow week!

The Lakota boys and girls waited a month, but St. Joseph’s new playground is finally done!
Shouts of joy erupted from the playground when the Lakota students finally got to play on the new equipment!

The BIG news today is the blessing of the new playground equipment! Students and staff came out during their first period yesterday morning so we could offer a prayer and express our gratitude to our tiyospayeextended family – who made it all possible. There was a lot of excitement and glee as they slid, climbed, swung and checked out everything.

As one staffer put it:

The kids finally got to play on our new playground! They have been waiting for a month and were incredibly patient. Today it was awesome to witness them experience it for the first time. Yep, all 164 kids at once – priceless!!!!!! If only everyone could have heard the joy that erupted from St. Joseph’s this morning…we are truly blessed!!!!!!!

Pilamaya thank you – for your generosity!

And in the midst of this excitement, powwow week is upon us!

Last week we began the process to determine our royalty for the powwow.  The students taking part had to write a short essay about why they wanted to be Miss St. Joseph’s, Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s or the Eagle Staff Bearer.  They were also asked to demonstrate their dancing skills and answered questions from our panel of judges. The results will be announced Friday afternoon, September 12, at the cultural presentation in the Rec Center.

Even the big kids wanted to check out every corner of the new playground.
All the Lakota students – big and little – checked out every corner of the new playground.

Powwow guests are already arriving at St. Joseph’s Indian School! Our first visitor so excited he came a week early. He knocked on our door Saturday morning wondering where everyone was. Activities officially begin Thursday morning with a bus tour of nearby Indian Reservations (pre-registration required). In the meantime, guests can visit the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and take in the sites in and around Chamberlain. Check out the full powwow schedule!

You can learn more about powwow, including the definition of the event and various dance styles, at

I hope each of you has a wonderful week.  Please keep us in prayer that we’ll have good weather and a successful event for our Lakota (Sioux) students, their families and all our guests!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

The Lakota children say pilamaya – thank you!
Wopila tanka – many thanks – for your generosity!


St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American Saint

Greetings to you!

Yesterday was the Feast Day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lilly of the

Fr. Anthony is St. Joseph’s Chaplain
Fr. Anthony with the Lakota children

Mohawks.  She is the first Native American to be canonized and holds a special place in the heart of the Native American people.  I’ve had the privilege of visiting the village where Kateri grew up in in New York State.

One of the stained glass windows in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel on St. Joseph’s campus is dedicated to Kateri.  We ask for her intercession that the Great Spirit will give His blessings and strength to all who seek to follow her dedication and commitment to follow Jesus.

On behalf of all the SCJs, I thank you for your prayers for the success of the recent Provincial Chapter held last week in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. I had the chance to join with Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ and 42 other priests and brothers to discuss various issues to help the members of the Province be supportive of one another and renewed in our dedication to serving the people of God as ‘prophets of love and servants of reconciliation.’

Thanks to your prayers, the Spirit helped move the Chapter in a very positive direction.

We also got to do some celebrating.

Fr. Leonard Tadyszak, SCJ, celebrated the 70th anniversary of his vows. Among Father’s various ministries was his time serving in north-central South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

The next day, we celebrated Br. Clay Diaz, SCJ, and his Final Profession of Vows.  As part of his training, Br. Clay served at St. Joseph’s Indian School.  His next assignment will take him to northern Mississippi.

On a sad note, we received word that Fr. Larry Rucker, SCJ passed away.  Fr. Larry had served in South Dakota and many in this area still remember him. Please keep Fr. Larry in prayer.

As we continue moving through the summer, various rodeos and powwows will take place throughout central South Dakota. The powwows at Lower Brule and Fort Thompson will take place in early August. I hope to see you at St. Joseph’s annual powwow on September 13.

Remember, you are always welcome to stop in and visit St. Joseph’s Indian School and see the good you are doing for the Lakota children!

May God continue to bless you and keep you in good health. Know we are praying for you, in gratitude for your generosity.  Pilamaya thank you!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


The Priests of the Sacred Heart – Founders of St. Joseph’s Indian School

Dear Benefactors,

What a wonderful weekend at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Friday, June 27, we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart, which is very special to our religious community. SCJ is Latin for sacerdotes cordis jesu (priests of the heart of Jesus).

We were honored to have St. Joseph’s former President, Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ, back among us for the day.

The members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart who minister here in South Dakota gathered for an adoration period in which we renewed our vows of commitment to the Congregation and the people of God.  It is always a wonderful time to join with fellowSCJs and share somecamaraderie and dinner together.

The Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center now includes an Alumni & Historical Center and a Medicine Wheel Garden.
The Medicine Wheel Garden is nestled between the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and the banks of the Missouri River.

Wonderful as it was, we were a little sad too. On Sunday, Fr. Guy Blair, SCJ, said good-bye to the parishes of St. Anthony in Pukwana and St. James in Chamberlain as he moves on to his new assignment.

The SCJ community has helped the Sioux Falls Diocese with local ministry over the last 25-30 years, but the Province was not able to replace Fr. Guy with another SCJ, so the communities gave the parishes back to the Diocese of Sioux Falls. Fr. Steve was here to extend the thanks of the Province for all the support and encouragement the parishes have given to the SCJ priests who have served over the years.

The Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center’s Medicine Wheel Garden was chosen to be on the annual P.E.O (Philanthropic Educational Organization) Yard and Garden Tour this past Thursday.  We were honored to be chosen along with four other homes in the Chamberlain area.

Monday and Tuesday, I was in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, taking part in the Board meeting for Cheyenne River Indian Outreach. The SCJ’s operate a domestic violence shelter and youth residential program on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. In addition to a safe place, a thrift store also helps provide new or slightly used household items for victims needing to start over.

Tomorrow, we are looking forward to a visit South Dakota’s senior Senator, the Honorable Tim Johnson. The Senator is making a farewell tour of the state as he will not be running for re-election this year after serving three terms in the United States Senate.

The Lakota (Sioux) students participating in our summer program will welcome him and share about St. Joseph’s.  The

Chamberlain residents visited the Medicine Wheel Garden as part of a recent community tour.
The Medicine Wheel Garden was featured in Chamberlain’s recent local garden tour.

Senator has been helpful when our students visited Washington DC and has also taken an active interest in Native American issues during his years of service.  I’ll share with you how the visit went in next week’s blog!

We hope you all have a safe and memorable Independence Day! As you enjoy time with family and friends, remember the values our country stands for and continue to find ways to pass them along to future generations.


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Never a dull moment at St. Joseph’s Indian School

Greetings from a weather-beaten state,

We have had tornadoes, hail and very heavy rain in South Dakota. Wessington Springs, which is about 60 miles northeast of us, was recently hit by a tornado that destroyed

The Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center on St. Joseph’s campus is free and open to the public.
The Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center features historical displays and contemporary artwork by Lakota (Sioux) artists.

several houses and businesses. Areas just to our north had some weather activity that knocked down storage silos.

Thankfully, Chamberlain has been spared the very dangerous storms. Our prayers are with those who have not been so fortunate.

Already this summer, we have had lots of visitors at the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center browsing the museum, historical center a gift shop. It’s a pleasure to visit with them – some have been contributing to St. Joseph’s for many years and for some it is their first visit.

Those who have been here before are amazed at the changes that have taken place on campus, including now complete home renovations and the addition of the Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi (We Stood Here in the Beginning) Historical & Alumni Center.

All these projects, as well as the programs and necessities we provide for the Lakota children, are accomplished through your generosity. We’re so grateful!

If you are coming through South Dakota this summer, please stop in! If you are traveling later in the summer, be sure to attend our annual powwow on September 13.

St. Joseph’s Alumni & Historical Center features historical displays and special features for alumni.
The Alumni & Historical Center was recently added to the Akta Lakota Museum.

Other than visitors, the campus has gone a bit silent as Rising Eagle Day Camp has come to an end. All together, 984 Native American children took part in the four-week program, all from the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Indian Reservations.

Pilamayathank you – for your support! You helped provide the resources needed to meet the needs of the summer day camp program and made these smiles possible!

With fewer children on campus, St. Joseph’s maintenance crews are making needed repairs in homes and classrooms.  New windows are being installed in the Benedictine Homes where our youngest students (grades 1-3) reside.

There is never a dull moment!

We hope you and yours will have a wonderful week and that God’s blessings may continue to be with you always.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Four Weeks at St. Joseph’s Indian School: An Intern’s Perspective

My name is Connor and I am completing an internship at St. Joseph’s Indian School as part of the University of Notre Dame’s Summer Service Learning Program (SSLP), which is run

The boys in the summer home liked spending time with Connor during his internship.
Connor and boys in the summer home climbed Harney Peak.

by the Center for Social Concerns. I am a rising sophomore from the Washington, DC, area and I picked St. Joseph’s from over 200 SSLP sites all across the country. I started working here at the end of May and am now completing my fourth and final week at St. Joseph’s.

Next, I will complete the 8-week SSLP program by spending the remaining four weeks working at the St. Francis House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

While I have been here, the majority of my time has been spent as a camp counselor for Rising Eagle Day Camp.

The campers are broken up into an older group for ages 10-14 and a younger group for kids 9 and under with the two groups alternating which activities they do during the day. Each day after arriving on campus and eating breakfast, the older kids head off to Lakota Studies with Jeshua and LaRayne, while the younger group has outdoor recreation time led by Mark. Afterwards, they switch activities, which are then followed by lunch in the school’s dining hall.

In Lakota Studies, the kids learn about their cultural heritage by listening to stories, singing traditional songs, and playing the drum. The kids also make their very own, personal drums and carve pipes out of soap bars, among other arts and crafts activities. During their rec time, the kids do anything ranging from playing softball outdoors to playing thunder ball in the gym to learning about water safety with the Army Corps of Engineers down at the river.

Connor spent time with day camp kids, decorating t-shirts, playing games and swimming.
Day camp students decorated shirts with puffy paint during arts & crafts.

After lunch, the older group has arts and crafts with Melissa and the younger kids have swim time in the rec center pool. Again, the two groups switch activities after a while. In arts and crafts, the kids wove God’s Eyes out of yarn, designed camp t-shirts with puffy paint, and built key chains by melting down plastic beads. Following a snack after this full day of activities, it is time for the kids to head back home until camp starts back up again the next day.

In addition to helping out at the summer camp, I have gone with Sherry and Chelsea, two of St. Joseph’s Family Service Counselors, on home to see students back home in their reservation communities for the summer.

I spent a day traveling on the bookmobile to provide books to Native American kids who can’t get to a library during the summer – they would not be able to read a new book until returning to school in the fall.

In addition to these travels, I have also spent a good amount of time with the summer home kids who stay at St. Joseph’s over break. Mostly, I have just been hanging out with them, getting to know them better through games of basketball and swimming. I also accompanied the summer home kids on weekend trips to the Black Hills, where we hiked Harney Peak and explored Wind Cave, and Sioux Falls where we went go-carting and played laser tag.

So far, I have had a great experience out here in South Dakota. I would like to thank St. Joseph’s for welcoming me so warmly into their school community this past month. I will miss St. Joe’s very much when I have to leave, but this school and the time I spent here will always have a special place in my memory. I am grateful for this amazing opportunity and I wish all those at St. Joseph’s the best.

See what the Lakota children thought of Rising Eagle Day Camp – watch the video now!