St. Joseph’s chapel

My dream of visiting St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota finally came true during our first trip up north.  (That’s what we South Texans call the northern part of the United States.)  And what a place!

The school, which borders on the expansive Missouri River that sometimes overflows, is a gold-eyed needle in a haystack on the Lewis and Clark Trail off Interstate 90.









St. Joseph’s chapel

On reaching the chapel, Steven shared his regret about not arrived early enough for us to attend Mass there that day. Then Margie, our tour guide, explained, “Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel is only for Sunday Mass.  Daily Mass is held in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel down the hall, but it’s just for those who work and live here at the school.”

We were nearing the end of our walking tour of the school, and I really wanted photos of the chapel.  Still, we’d been told that we couldn’t take photos at the museum; so I’d been careful not to photograph anyone or anything without asking first.

“May we take photos of the chapel?” I asked.

“Of course!  We want you to take photos of the chapel.  You’re welcome to come back after our walk and take lots of them.”

“Thank you!  We’ll be sure to do that before we leave.”



Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel











Prayers…  The first two are from Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Sioux, 1863-1950; and the third is from Frank Fools Crow, U.S. Senate, 1975.

One…  Hear me, four quarters of the world– a relative I am!  Give me the strength to walk the soft earth.  Give me the eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you.  With your power only can I face the winds.  Great Spirit… all over the earth the faces of living things are all alike.  With tenderness have these come up out of the ground.  Look upon these faces of children without number and with children in their arms, that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of quiet.  This is my prayer.  Hear me!

Two…  Hey-a-a-hey!  Hey-a-a-hey!  Hey-a-a-hey!  Hey-a-a-hey!

Grandfather, great mysterious one, you have been always; and before you nothing has been.  There is nothing to pray to but you.  The star nations all over the universe are yours, and yours are the grasses of the earth.  Day in and day out, you are the life of things.  You are older than all need, older than all pain and prayer.  Grandfather, all over the world the faces of the living ones are alike.

In tenderness they have come up out of the ground.  Look upon your children with children in their arms that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of quiet.  Teach me to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that live.  Sweeten my heart and fill me with light, and give me the strength to understand and the eyes to see.  Help me, for without you I am nothing.

Hetchetu aloh!

Three…  In the presence of this house, Grandfather, Wakan-Tanka, and from the directions where the sun sets, and from the direction of cleansing power, and from the direction of the rising sun, and from the direction of the middle of the day.  Grandfather, Wakan-Tanka, Grandmother, the Earth who hears everything, Grandmother, because you are woman, for this reason you are kind, I come to you this day.

To tell you to love the red men, and watch over them, and give these young men the understanding because, Grandmother, from you comes the good things, good things that are beyond our eyes to see have been blessed in our midst for this reason I make my supplication known to you again.

Give us a blessing so that our words and actions be one in unity, and that we be able to listen to each other, in so doing, we shall with good heart walk hand in hand to face the future.

In the presence of the outside, we are thankful for many blessings.  I make my prayer for all people, the children, the women and the men.  I pray that no harm will come to them, and that on the great island, there be no war, that there be no ill feelings among us.  From this day on may we walk hand in hand.  So be it.


Contact information

Prayers cards are from St. Joseph Indian School, P.O. Box 326, Chamberlain, SD 57326-0326.

Links of interest… Creation stories you probably haven’t heard…  First People…  Nicholas Black Elk: American catechist / great circle  (YouTube) / life is a circle / may be a saintneed for catechistssainthood cause advances with U.S. bishops’ vote…  St. Kateri Tekakwitha: blessed /  chaplet (more) / inspiration / lily of the Mohawks: article – celebrating – more /  model ecologist / special prayers…  St. Joseph’s Indian School: blog / chapel / culture / museum / river / town / website

WP posts…  Kateri’s sainthood…  Sioux chapel stations

Sioux chapel stations

SJIS5112-22For more than two months since we returned from our trip, I’ve pondered a seemingly insurmountable dilemma: Which of the nearly fifteen hundred photos from our trip do I post first?

I categorized them a number of times, looked through them here and there, and had no idea where to start.  Until last night.

Sioux chapel

Previewing the photos from our day at the St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota, I created
three files— chapel, stations, and windows— before revisiting Kateri Tekakwitha’s painting.

That’s it! I thought.  I’ll start with the Sioux chapel at the school.  The stations are the perfect transition.  Not only that, for the prayers I can use the short version of the Way of the Cross used by Franciscans on their missions (The Piety Prayer Booklet, MLOR Corporation, 1996).

Stations for all time

Originating in Jerusalem in the fourth century, these Lenten reflections are more than a permanent visual journey with Jesus through the most harrowing time of his life.  These depictions— when we make the time to look, ponder, and truly internalize— are a constant reminder of the crosses that we, too, must
proactively engage as we make our way (back) to God.

What matters most in the Stations of the Cross is to follow Jesus Christ in his passion and to see ourselves mirrored in him.  To face life’s dark side in ourselves and in our world, we need images of hope; and Jesus offers images of hope in his passion.  By accompanying him on the Way of the Cross, we gain his courageous patience and learn to trust in God who delivers us from evil (The Passionist Missionaries, 2002).

Sioux chapel stations

 1st: Jesus is condemned to death…  O Jesus, so meek and uncomplaining, teach me resignation in trials.

 2nd: Jesus receives his cross…  My Jesus, this cross should be mine, not yours; my sins crucified you.


 3rd: Jesus falls the first time…  O Jesus, by this first fall never let me fall into mortal sin.

 4th: Jesus meets his blessed mother…  O Jesus, may no human tie, however dear, keep me from following the road of the cross.


 5th: Simon helps Jesus to carry his cross…  Simon unwillingly assisted you; may I with patience suffer all for you.

 6th: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus…  O Jesus, you did imprint your sacred features upon Veronica’s veil; stamp them also indelibly upon my heart.


 7th: Jesus falls the second time…  By your second fall preserve me, dear Lord, from relapse into sin.

 8th: Jesus consoles the holy women…  My greatest consolation would be to hear you say, “Many sins are forgiven you because you have loved much.”


 9th: Jesus falls the third time…  O Jesus, when weary upon life’s long journey, be my strength and my perseverance.

10th: Jesus is stripped of his garments…  My soul has been robbed of its robe of innocence; clothe me, dear Jesus, with the garb of penance and contrition.


11th: Jesus is nailed to the cross…  You forgave your enemies; my God, teach me to forgive injuries and forget them.

12th: Jesus expires on the cross…  You are dying, my Jesus; but your sacred heart still throbs with love for your sinful children.


13th: Jesus is laid in his mother’s arms…  Receive me into your arms, O sorrowful Mother, and obtain for me perfect contrition for my sins.

14th: Jesus is laid in the sepulchre…  When I receive you into my heart in holy communion, O Jesus, make it a fit abiding place for your adorable body.  Amen.



Before the cross…  Heavenly Father, as we look at the cross before us, we remember the agony that your son, Jesus, suffered as he accepted it as the instrument of his death.  Accept our prayer, Lord, for all who suffer, all who are in pain, all who are unjustly condemned, all who feel betrayed, all who are dying.

We surrender to you our own suffering, which we find so difficult to bear at times.  May your son, Jesus, continue to bless the efforts that we make to repent for our sins and to forgive those who hurt us in different ways.  We make this prayer through the same Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Petition…  Passion of Christ, strengthen me!  Strengthen me under the pressure of temptation.  Strengthen me when principle is at stake.  Strengthen me to do your will, my God.  Strengthen me in moments of suffering, in times of loneliness, in periods of depression.  Strengthen me that I may never swerve from you, dear Christ, nor weaken through human respect through a desire to be popular, through hope of social distinction.  Strengthen me to accept my cross and carry it generously to the end.  On the battlefield of life, stand by me that I may never prove a traitor in the ranks.  Stand by me that I may not be dazzled by the glitter and glow of the enemy camp.  Amen.



Links of interest…  Easter/Lent (meditations)…  Holy Week: 1st four days / Christ’s sorrow & passionTen ways to meditate on Christ’s passionTriduum…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Praying Lent…  Resurrection (YouTube)…  St. Francis
St. Joseph’s Indian School: blogchapel / culture / museum / website… Stations of the Cross: about / devotion / fish eaters / for families (more) / for kids (coloring pages) / how to do / making them worthwhile / on your block / origin / prayers (video & music) / printables / puppet show (YT) / scriptural (JPII) / significance / way of the cross

WP posts…   Bearing one’s crosses…  Concrete abstraction…  Connected tangents…  Dear God…  Growing pains…  Kateri’s sainthood…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten resources…  Prayerful ways…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Seven dwelling places…  Simple yet profound…  St. Joseph’s chapel…  Sweet Jesus…  Two angels…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret