Mathias Home 8th Grade Mother-Daughter Trip

Kathryn, St. Joseph’s Houseparent

Hello! My name is Kathryn. I am a houseparent in the Mathias Home at St. Joseph’s Indian School.


On May 14, the Mathias home took their first ever mother-daughter trip in preparation for 8th grade graduation. The girls, their mothers and I enjoyed a day filled with shopping, eating, shopping, pampering, and shopping! We have three eighth graders this year and shopping for graduation attire was so much fun!

When we were done, we took a few pictures of the girls in their graduation dresses and one with all of the moms and daughters together. More than just preparing for graduation, this trip offered the moms and their daughters some much-needed time together.

Since the students are here on campus the majority of the year, opportunities like this are few and far between for our students and their parents. Many 14 year olds try to avoid their parents in public places, but our students relished in their time together.

It was a blessing to see how much love and joy everyone shared. As house parents, we receive those small blessings every day. Sharing a few moments with our students and some very incredible moms was amazing!

Alyssa, Justina, Haesel
Alyssa, Justina and Haesel, 8th Grade Class of 2016

We laughed, we cried and we loved on this very special day.


It was a small way to say ‘thank you’ to our moms for all they do for their daughters and the other students in the home and a farewell to our beautiful 8th graders as they begin the next chapter in their journey.

We are so proud of these young ladies! They have worked hard throughout their middle school years and they finished this year with a cumulative GPA of 3.81 between the three of them.

All three students are excellent role models, are generous with their time by sharing it with younger students and helping peers, and have goals and aspirations that will carry them far in life.

We thank our students’ moms for doing such great jobs raising their daughters and supporting us as house parents. We also thank our students for being such wonderful role models. It has been an honor to have the privilege of being a part of their journey!



St. Joseph’s Houseparent

All Saints Day

Each classroom chose a saint to learn about and designed a banner to represent them!
Each classroom chose a saint to learn about and designed a banner to represent them!

We had two masses for the Lakota students today for the All Saints Holy Day. Right after school grades 1-8 gathered in church with all their teachers and houseparents. Of course our opening song had to be a lively rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Each of the classrooms chose a saint to learn about that had some special significance to them, and designed a banner that was proudly carried in the opening procession. Saints Jochim and Anne (patron of grandparents) included the names of several of our students grandparents. I myself found out our newest saint, Kateri Tekakwitha, is the patroness of ecology. St. Maximillian Kolbe is a help and inspiration for those struggling with addictions, which is a big hurdle many of our students’ families know about all too well.

Since many of our high school students work after school or are involved in sports practice or getting ready for the school play, we had another mass for them later in the evening. It was a much smaller and more intimate crowd (56 counting staff and students). But the older students seem to enjoy the occasions when they are among peers, and the homily can focus on their reality.

Students volunteered to be readers and hospitality ministers. It takes some courage to read or speak in front of friends, but overcoming that reluctance is another step in building self-confidence and growing into maturity. Each of the homes brought petitions for our common prayers. Our kids are very concerned about all the folks who are suffering on the East Coast and beyond from super-storm Sandy, and that was the prayer most commonly voiced.

I spoke about preparing for the future, and having the attitudes of the beatitudes in trying to make a difference in addressing the suffering of our needy world. I drew some chuckles when I told the high school students, “Our main goal is to get rid of you!” But of course, the goal is having them graduate and move on with the firm and well-rounded foundation they need to pursue God’s hopes and dreams for them.

After mass, a few of the students hung around to chat. They’ve been trying to plan a dance that didn’t happen over Halloween, and now the other holidays are fast approaching. Chris joked that maybe their theme should be zombie turkeys carrying presents!

I noticed one of the girls gravitating to the saints banners. She quietly and contemplatively approached each one, observing how each of the classes had portrayed our heroes of faith. When I asked about her favorite, it was the Holy Innocents, with the names of children that our students knew and prayed for.

My hope is to instill that sense of prayerful wonder and reflection in all of our students, and that we can help form young people who will be known for heroic virtue.

May more and more saints come marching in!

Faith in action

A small crowd today in church as several of the homes were still gone on home trips, and many other students’ families took advantage of our nice fall weather and checked out their kids for the weekend.

Our high school students generally have religious education classes Sunday after church. The session is called “faith in action” and students find service projects around campus or in town to take part in. Today all the high school girls banded together to organize all the storage areas around the sacristy and chapel. Over the years, we’ve accumulated many bells, books and candles and assorted church supplies. It was a real service to empty cupboards, dust and clean and sort.

The most interesting find of the day was a wooden church clapper – a pivoting wooden hammer used only on Good Friday in place of bells that represents the nails being hammered into Jesus’ hands and feet. I had to explain what that was to the group. The girls laughed when they dug out the king’s crowns we use for the Nativity play, and wore them like royalty as they went about their work. They found a pile of old keys we’ll try to match up. They removed a lot of packaging and couldn’t resist popping lots of the bubble wrap. Thanks for the help!

I joined the Afra Home (1st – 3rd grade girls) for brunch. In some of the older homes the kids eat and run. The girls this age love to chat, and more than a few times had to be reminded to work on their food before it got cold. Afterwards Tashia taught me how to play the game Mancala, trying your wits at strategically placing colorful glass beads. With kids, it’s not about winning and losing, but about taking the time to “waste time together.”