A week in review

Last week, I was talking to one of St. Joseph’s newer employees who is also quite young. What impressed me most was his expressed desire to make a difference. Sometimes, my generation complains about the younger generation. Too often, we underestimate youth who very much want to be part of a group that has high ideals and wants to address the problems of the world in a meaningful way. That fresh attitude and enthusiasm helps light the fire under me and spurs me on.

That evening, hot dogs for supper at Giles Home (high school boys) wasn’t a gourmet feast, but the satisfying conversation and connection with the guys there was good food for the soul. The whole house is made up of freshmen. As they sprint toward the school year’s finish line, they’re finding their way together.  They all have their days where they are moody and flighty teenagers, but I notice a maturing and growth – satisfying to see.

Mike, one of our Family Service Counselors shared he was having a difficult time getting information to the family of a Lakota student who has been accepted into our high school program. The family struggles with the basics, and last month didn’t have the money to pay the deposit on the Post Office box rent. The same happens with dropped phone coverage or even loss of home utilities when times get hard.


I joined 24 students who had achieved perfect attendance for a trip downtown to see the movie “The Croods.”

This cave family didn’t live up to my favorite, the Flintstones, but the kids enjoyed the movie and the outing.

–        As an adult, do you still enjoy animated movies from time to time?

The Summerlee Home (fourth and fifth grade girls) was my supper stop. My table got talking about cooking – dishes they can prepare (mostly involving noodles or eggs) and favorites from home, like fry bread and smothered burritos.

These girls just moved back into the newly remodeled home a few weeks ago, and showed me how they’d decorated to give the rooms a homey feel. They like dinosaurs, and a model T-Rex was perched on an end table. The T-Rex was wearing an improvised Easter bonnet, complete with homemade rabbit ears to be in the spirit of the season!

Kids can be fun and creative that way, and so can our houseparents. Cante wanted me to check out the guest bathroom, since that was her weekly responsibility and she worked hard to clean it. With the home so new, they take extra pride in keeping it looking good.


The priests, sisters, and permanent deacon who live on nearby Indian Reservations and serve on the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Pastoral team make up an important part of our outreach ministry.

I attended their team meeting and we discussed some long range strategic planning to address the pressing social needs they meet every day. I enjoyed being a part of the opening round of sharing again.

Recent snows and ice kept attendance down in some of the missions. Fr. Hendrik actually slid off the road and had to be towed out by parishioners behind him who happened to have chains in their pickup truck.

Fr. Vincent took Fr. Jose for his first experience of a Native American funeral yesterday. They left at 8 a.m. and didn’t get home until 4 p.m., which is not unusual. Native Americans observe much more cultural ritual surrounding death and burial.

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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