Toast and Tea on Lakota (Sioux) land

Lest anyone warns me to take it easy, I have been taking very long naps every afternoon and pacing myself accordingly.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This morning I stopped in to visit a housebound parishioner who means a lot to me. Over toast and tea, we reminisced and caught up about our respective doings. We also discussed what’s going on in Eagle Butte.

This evening, I went to a wake of a 52-year-old woman who died of cancer. A drum group played some traditional songs as the pall bearers brought Carol’s body into church. I didn’t know Carol well, but I know her sister Margaret very well and wanted to be there to support her family.

In these Indian reservation communities, wakes and funerals are still very well attended. I find the best part of coming back to a parish where I’ve served is that first look of recognition across a room and the smile as people approach to say hello. Tonight, lots of familiar faces came up and gave me a hug or hearty handshake.

After the wake and rosary, the family served a meal, so people could stay around and visit. That gave me the chance to wander the tables and reconnect with folks. It’s the part of parish work I miss most when I have the administrative duties to take care of back at St. Joseph’s.

Lest anyone warns me to take it easy, I have been taking very long naps every afternoon and pacing myself accordingly. I still have nagging nerve pains in my foot that are about the same as they’ve been for weeks. But otherwise I feel OK.

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.

6 thoughts on “Toast and Tea on Lakota (Sioux) land”

  1. I just discovered your blog, Fr. Steve. I had been wondering how you were getting along and I’m so pleased that I have discovered your blog. I will make a point to check in regularly. I couldn’t go back very far because of time constraits but I read back though July 1 and thoroughly enjoyed readng it all, including the comments. You have some good friends and that has to be a significant factor in the progress of your recovery. I loved reading your comments about the various places you’ve visited recently. I have not had the opportunity to visit your “neck of the woods” and would love to one of these days. It’s a part of our wonderful country that I’ve always wanted to see.

    We had a great 4th of July here in the Southeast. It was extremely hot (much warmer than our usual mid to upper 80s) and we are close to drought conditions. A lot of folks left the fireworks out of their celebrations this year because of the fire risk. Luckily there were plenty of organized displays for those you were thoughtful enough not to tempt fate in that regard! Your description of the parade you attended made me nostalgic for the parades of my childhood back in the 1950s.

    And it was a real treat for me to discover that you are a Star Trek fan like me! To quote Spock: Live Long and Prosper, Fr. Steve. Continue your positive approach to recovery and you will soon be back to your “old self” and be fit as a fiddle again!

  2. You are getting the job done…like Junipero Serra. Do you ever feel that he might be walking with you..? In the evening..in the twilight..look around. He just might be there…The snap of a twig..a sound you thought was the wind..and you may not see him..but you will know that he was sent for you to lean on..I betcha..
    Prayers and Hugs
    Mia and Bob

  3. Dear Father Steve, I hope you’ve had a chance to check on the Bernie Siegel info. It sounds as if you instinctively are doing what he says survivors do! You are in our prayers.

  4. Father Steve,

    Your entries from Sunday and Monday are most inspiring. Whether your in the community to meet people and celebrate mass, your presence is indeed felt. You ask, “What I am doing here,” yet your very existence among the people makes a difference as it does at St. Joe’s. Thank you for being their as priest and as yourself. A true servant of the Lord and modern day St. Francis in bringing the gospel to those in need.

    With enduring thanks,

    Marc and Liz

  5. JMJ / MMM 14 July 2010
    Dear Father Steve —
    First, all blessing on your health and your continuing recovery. Praise be to Jesus!
    Then — You wrote, “I felt tempted to look out at the empty church and ask, ‘Why am I here?’ But, I came to the point where I could usually look at the same small crowd, know the suffering in people’s lives and think, ‘This is why I’m here – to make a difference in an area where it’s difficult to get any services, let alone religious outreach.’ … Each day can be a struggle to get by, and I did my best to listen and encourage.”
    You are right where you belong. Jesus had difficult times looking at us, the people, and seeing a herd of cows, staring empty, seeing nothing .. and also hearing the Father’s voice, “These are Our people. Do My Will. Just follow.”
    //////// Katie and John, our marriage and our Love .. she abandoned me 2 1/2 yrs ago. But God’s Eternal Will is at Work. Be it done! / Bless us, Katie and John! Thank you.

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