A project inspired by St. Joseph the Worker

In honor of the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1, the older Lakota children at St. Joseph’s Indian School used their Religion class to take on a building project.


The Lakota tradition teaches that we are all related. In the Catholic tradition, this truth is called the communion of saints. For the Lakota (Sioux) people, this concept extends to all of creation. Our brother St. Francis and the Catholic Celtic tradition of Ireland also affirm the belief that God is present in earth, wind, fire, water and indeed all of creation.


When Jesus went to return to the Father, he unleashed his Holy Spirit in the world in a new and remarkable way. And through that Holy Spirit ̶ present in each and every one of us ̶ we share in a special communion. In the same way, we share in that togetherness with all of the people who have gone before us. We are all related.


Because of this wonderful connection, Catholics turn to the holy ones who lived before us, like St. Joseph, and we ask them to pray for us. We also keep their memories alive and look to them as role models. Our role model, St. Joseph, understood that all people were his relatives, too, and worthy of love and respect.


So, when he could have, by law, had Mary punished for being with child, he chose not to. And when he was encouraged by an angel to take her in, he did not hesitate. Because of his generous heart, he opened his life to her and her unborn son. He became the foster father to Jesus and I imagine that, while he taught him his trade as a carpenter, he also schooled him in seeing all people as related to him and worthy of love and respect. Perhaps that became the foundation of Jesus’ teaching, “Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”


Inspired by St. Joseph’s trade as a carpenter and his generosity, we built a shed, which we donated to the Missouri Valley Crisis Center in Chamberlain. The center responds to the needs of our brothers and sisters in the world who find themselves in need of special help, not unlike Mary when she faced uncertainty in her life before Joseph took her in.

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.

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