From the Desk of Fr. Greg: October 2021

October was a busy month at St. Joseph’s Indian School! Let’s dive into what happened.

October is the month of the year that his Servant of God, Nicholas Black Elk called the, “Moon of the changing seasons.” As the weather continues to change, one thing that never changes is that I am keeping you all — our benefactors, staff and students — in my prayers.

As I continue to place all of you in my thoughts and in my prayers, I thought I would share with you a few wonderful events that have been happening at St. Joseph’s Indian School. 

Students and staff gathered in Wisdom Circle on campus to honor our four-legged relatives during an Animal Blessing.

Earlier this month I had the honor and privilege of blessing horses and dogs on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. This was a wonderful, crisp and cool October morning where all students gathered at the school’s “Wisdom Circle” to witness and partake in this joyous occasion of not only seeing the animals blessed, but to recognize that God creates each one of us equally, both humans and animals. We are to respect the integrity of God’s creation through acts of kindness. When we think of animals or people, all of us are invited to faithfully follow the “Golden Rule” of treating others the way we would want to be treated. Treating others with kindness is thoughtful and considerate and, I must say, contagious. When we watch others treat one another with acts of kindness, there is always the potential for kindness to expand.

Kids learned about seven stained glass windows in the chapel representing the Seven Lakota Rites.

So much of this was evident before my very eyes through the diligent teamwork of students and staff who worked to make Native American Week a success. Native American week kicked off on Sunday, October 10 with the celebration of the Lakota mass. The following day, the children began their school week at Wisdom Circle, the site of this year’s Annual Powwow and Animal Blessing. That morning we had the Four Directions Prayer and continued the week with various events, with the finale being a more informal powwow at Wisdom Circle on Friday, October 15. The students participated in several traditional dances. To my surprise, I was selected to be one of the judges. Let me tell you something: They all did a fantastic job and I am proud of our students, as they have come a long way in these times of uncertainty.

As a grand finale of Native American Week, we hosted a casual, just-for-fun powwow. And boy did we have fun! The round dance, potato dance, rabbit dance, switch dance and snake dance were all part of the celebration.

This would not be possible without the generous support of our benefactors. Also, I express my sincere gratitude for all who have kept St. Joseph’s Indian School in your thoughts and prayers. Together, we continue to make a difference and play a huge impact on the lives of our students.

Peace and Blessings,
Fr. Gregory signature
Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ

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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