When you lose someone you love, sometimes the simplest of things will make you think of them – the rustling of the leaves, the melody of a certain song or the smell of freshly baked bread. These small details spark a pleasant memory.
At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we take great care in remembering the souls who have gone before us. When the loved ones of alumni, students or staff pass away, one of the ways they are remembered is with a special Lakota tradition.
“During the month of November, we remember those in our families that have passed away. We write their names down on some red fabric and then our Native American Studies teacher wraps sage into the fabric so that it can be tied up on a tree in our church for all to see. Fr. Anthony blesses us and our families, as we remember Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ — we are all related,” said Shayla, a St. Joseph’s Indian School student.
The fabric with rolled sage Shayla is describing is called a prayer tie. The prayer ties remain visible throughout the month of November in association with All Souls Day (November 2, 2019). The tree stands in the chapel so visitors can pray for them and ask God to grant the souls guidance to heaven.
When this is complete, the prayer ties are burned during an inípi ceremony. The inípi, also known as a sweat, is the purification ceremony of the Lakota (Sioux). The smoke released during the burning symbolizes the souls rising toward heaven where they can rest at eternal peace.
“The students take it very seriously,” said Joe, Mission Integration director. “There might be a student who only has one name to write down. Those students are fortunate. But, those students also know the kid next to them has lost people, too – sometimes, a mother or father – so they stay very quiet until everyone is finished.”
If you have lost a loved one and would like their name written on a future prayer tie, submit their name, and our students will take care in creating one for them next year.
8 thoughts on “Departed Loved Ones Honored with Prayer Ties”
I have learned The prayers in the Inipi ceremony and their importance a few years ago. I wish to thank St. Josephs School and their children for praying for those I love, I have admitted their names. I use sage in prayer all the time and it is always good to have innocent young people pray for all those departed too. I will make a donation for their happiness and plan to do so in the near future and always as I have been looking for a worthy program that helps Native American children to get the best education and have a brighter future. Thank you for your work. It is so important. Dan Powers.
Thank you so much, Dan. We are so glad you value the same principles we work so hard to teach our students. We appreciate your kind words and support!
Dear Sir or Madam,
I would like to make a donation. I can’t find records indicating my last donation; could you give me that information? When was my last donation and how much was it? It might have been done via my credit card.
Many thanks and prayers,
12120 E. 36th St.
Tulsa OK 74146
George, we have passed on your info and someone will be getting in touch with you. Thanks!
Would like to honor my deceased wife 2-27-13 Patricia with a prayer tie. How can this be accomplished. Thank you
You can submit her name to be written on a prayer tie by going here: http://www.stjo.org/prayertie. We are sorry for your loss, and honored to remember Patricia in this manner. God bless.
I lost my Dad and it’s been very hard without him, I miss him so much. Today I was looking up something about prayer ties and this was in the search results. It made me cry because St. Joseph’s Indian school was something my Dad loved to donate to as often as he could. I summited his name and think it’s really neat you do this. I know it would mean a lot to him to be included. Thanks <3
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. The students will take great care in making a prayer tie in honor of your father. May peace and blessings be with you during this very difficult time.