Editor's Note: Today, we welcome guest contributor Corrie Oberdin to learn more about the St. Francis Mission in South Dakota. Visit the Mission online at www.sfmission.org and find them on Facebook too. LMH

The St. Francis Mission is a Jesuit mission in the heart of the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  We serve Lakota Catholics on the reservation, and bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who have not heard it.  Along the way, we bring several much needed services to the Rosebud Reservation.

The Mission was started in the 1880s – several Lakota chiefs who knew of the Jesuits reputation for running schools went to Washington to see if the Jesuits (known by the Lakota as the “Black Robes”) would be allowed to enter the reservation to teach their children.  In 1881, the Jesuits entered the Rosebud Reservation and began a school. Since that time, we have worked with the Lakota on the Rosebud Reservation.  We respect the traditions of the Lakota people as we collaborate with them to meet the spiritual, educational, social and physical needs of the community, and a large portion of the Mission’s staff are Lakota.  We support work in six parishes on the reservation, along with:

  • A fledgling dental clinic (link TK) to help serve the severely underserved reservation community.  Most of the dental care that is current practices on the reservation is palliative – which means that tooth extraction constitutes the usual method of on-reservation dental care.
  • Two recovery centers (the Icimani Ya Waste Recovery Center and the White River Recovery Center) to address drug & alcohol issues on the reservation.  Currently, drug and alcohol problems affect nearly 80% of reservation residents, and impact 100% of the families on the reservation.  We have also created a Family Recovery program in conjunction with the Betty Ford Center to help families address the effects of addiction.
  • Religious Education programs in four communities throughout the reservation to help educate children about God and the Catholic faith and a new Sapa Un education and after school program.
  • The Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum, one of only two Lakota museums in the world, and
  • KINI Radio, a radio station owned and operated by St. Francis Mission, broadcasting to all of the Rosebud Reservation and an audience of over 20,000 listeners. As the voice of St. Francis Mission, it offers programs for evangelization, religious education, national news, reservation news, and a wide variety of musical entertainment.

We have a dedicated staff that includes several Jesuit priests and brothers, members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and members of the Lakota tribe. We survive on donations and prayers from those who know about the St. Francis Mission.

To learn more about our work and to keep up on news from the mission on our blog, visit www.sfmission.org.  We also have an active Facebook page and a Twitter account – we love to connect with others through both!