When Fr. John Hatcher, S.J. came to St. Francis Mission fifteen years ago he saw great needs and also great possibilities. He began what has come to be known as a “new mission”--a new approach to the Jesuits' work among the Lakota. He started new programs that focused on the “wellness” of the people-- their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. From healthy individuals working together for the good of their families and the tribe would come “community”--an essential part of both Lakota and Christian tradition. And out of a healthy community would come “leadership.” All our programs foster those three values and we are excited to say that fifteen years later we are seeing great impact. This newsletter shares some of the successes we have had over the past year. We are so proud of the work that has happened as a result of Jesuits and Lakota people working together to make a difference in this community. As you read through the progress of each of our programs, I hope that you remember that all this would not have been possible without your continued support.
You may notice the morning star design at the top of the newsletter. For the Lakota, the Morning Star-- the traditional design for quilts--is the symbol of wisdom and hope. And every year, at the Easter Vigil, Christians sing of “the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ, who coming back from death's domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity.”
As the star quilt is used to wrap newborns and to honor people and, finally, to wrap the coffins of the deceased, so St. Francis Mission strives to wrap the Lakota community at every moment of their lives with the wisdom of our elders and the hope of Christ present in his Body, the Church.
Our hope is strengthened by our community--by you who support us. May you too be wrapped in wisdom and hope!
Fr. James Kubicki, SJ President