In the 1840’s Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet, S.J. brought the Gospel to the Northern Plains and helped build a reputation of trust between the Jesuits and the Lakota people. The Lakota identified the Jesuits as “Black Robes” and in the late 1800’s lobbied the government to allow them to teach their children.
The Black Robe Society was founded in order to help maintain the tradition of education and evangelization the Jesuits established among the Lakota. Today’s Jesuits respect the traditions of the Lakota people as we collaborate with them to meet the spiritual, educational, social, and physical needs of the 20,000 people that make up the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Your tax-deductible Black Robe Society membership allows us to more efficiently manage the financial support of our programs. Your help is appreciated and your gift assures that the “Black Robes’” teaching tradition continues. Black Robe Society members are remembered in our daily Masses.
BLACK ROBE ANNUAL GIVING LEVELS
Father Eugene Buechel, S.J. – $1000-$1999
Eugene Buechel, S.J., a German Jesuit, came to St. Francis Mission in the early 1900’s. He served Lakota people on Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations for 54 years. Fr. Buechel became an expert in the Lakota language and as a result of his work, he published a Lakota/English dictionary along with a grammar of the Lakota language. In the early days he lived in the homes of people and learned their customs and religious practices. As a result of many friendships, he was given artifacts for safekeeping. His world-class collection of artifacts is on display at the Buechel Museum (link) in St. Francis South Dakota. The museum has Fr. Buechel’s collection of plants with descriptions of what they were used for and their Lakota names.
Charter member gift – choice of earrings, beaded pen, small dream catcher
Brother Hartmann – $2000-$4999
Brother Hartmann, S.J., a German Jesuit, came to St. Francis in the early 1900’s. He was a master builder. When the original Mission burned down in 1916, it fell to Brother Hartmann and his Native crew to rebuild the school, the boy’s building, the girl’s building, the Jesuit residence, and the Mission Church (now known as St. Charles). To help deter further disaster from fire, he designed the buildings and constructed them out of concrete with the help of an all Lakota work force. His Mission Church is well worth seeing.
Charter member gift – choice of quill work cross, small dream catcher, belt buckle
Father Richard Jones, S.J. – $5000+
Fr. Richard Jones, S.J. served on the Rosebud Reservation for 46 years. He was superior for six years and the remaining years he was pastor of St. Charles Parish. He brought many evangelization programs to the Rosebud Reservation—charismatic prayer groups, retreat programs, the Renew Program, and leadership formation programs to name a few. He had the reputation of being a holy man and a healer. Fr. Jones was, and is, much loved and venerated by many Catholic Lakota people.
Charter member gift – choice of beaded moccasins or star quilt
For additional information on the Black Robe Society, click here.
St. Francis Mission Foundation, 201 Main St., Suite 310, Rapid City, SD 57701, 605-718-7912