Lasting and special bonds

Today was Jerry’s funeral. The youngest three grades didn’t attend, but all the other students who wanted to were given the chance, and all but a handful loaded up on busses and made their way to the service. While the focus last night was more on our students as the mourners, today the proper attention was paid primarily to his family. We learned more about his life and how he helped people as a neighbor, as he ran cattle and took good care of the land.

Fr. Anthony found an appropriate quote from a Northern Cheyenne Chief, “On the day you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a way that on the day you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” That seemed fitting for the kind of man Jerry was.

After the funeral we stayed for a meal and socializing. The family provided frybread and Indian tacos for everyone, which was a lot of work, but well appreciated.

We had other farewells today. At the end of the school day we gathered back at the Rec Center to say farewell to our four houseparents who will be moving on to other pursuits next year. The low turnover in our staff does speak to the stability of our programs.

This evening the Hogebach Home (high school girls) won the trophy for highest home Grade Point Average, and invited me to go out to eat with them in a victory celebration. High school ends classes on Thursday and as I sat across from two seniors, Shay and Andrea, I realized this would probably be the last time this whole group ate together. The service was very slow, but it worked out nicely as it gave us more time to reminisce, visit and laugh. When kids not only go to school together, but live, play and grow up together, there are some lasting and special bonds created.

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.

5 thoughts on “Lasting and special bonds”

  1. Dear Fr.Steve,
    Everytime I read your updates I feel as though I am there with you and your St.Joe’s family.I,m sure it is difficult when the students graduate and the possibility of never seeing them again.
    May God bless you and your staff for the good work you are doing.

  2. It’s obvious there are close ties formed at St. Joseph’s and it’s truly a blessing to see. My loving thoughts to all who have to share in the loss of one who seems to have made close ties with a great many.

  3. Way to go high school girls ! Those moments when we know we will probably say good bye (even though we say we’ll stay in touch) just tug at your heart strings.. Jerry must have been wonderful. You can hoard all the gold in the world, but if you can earn the respect of children … then you are truly rich in many ways.

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