News Detail
Jesuit Father John Hatcher, president of St. Francis Mission
“I think from the very beginning part of the culture of the classroom is to say we’re doing this to figure out how to help people here have a better life in the future.”
—Jesuit Father John Hatcher
Jesuits’ St. Francis Mission Opens Sapa Un Academy on Rosebud Indian Reservation

October 4, 2013 — St. Francis Mission, a ministry of the Jesuits among the 20,000 Lakota (Sioux) people on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, opened the Sapa Un Academy this September with an inaugural class of 13 third grade students. At-risk kids in South Dakota will benefit from this model of schooling, according to Jesuit Father John Hatcher, president of St. Francis Mission.

St. Francis, where the school is located, is a small town on the Rosebud Reservation, and officials say many young people in this rural area are not getting a good education, in part because many students don’t attend school regularly. “The educational systems here leave a lot to be desired and there’s a huge drop-out rate with kids, especially when they enter high school,” said Fr. Hatcher.

Newly-opened Sapa Un AcademyThis is where the Sapa Un Academy, based on the Nativity Miguel education model, comes in. The Jesuit-developed model focuses on at-risk children, aiming to turn them into students who are able to graduate from colleges and universities. The model features extended academic hours, focused studies, close student-teacher contact, and challenging subject matter in order to prepare students for post-high school studies, either in college or trade schools.

“Experience shows from studies of these educational models that children after graduating from post-secondary programs return to change their communities for the better,” said Fr. Hatcher. “I expect that children of Rosebud will return to the reservation as well-integrated professionals who want to return to their people some of the blessings they have enjoyed. They will come back here as entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers, artists, health care professionals, counselors and much more — all of them role models for the next generation.”

While the academy is opening to third grade students in 2013, the school plans to expand enrollment by adding a grade every school year. The school will also offer programming during summer months to keep its students caught up and engaged.

“I think from the very beginning part of the culture of the classroom is to say we’re doing this to figure out how to help people here have a better life in the future,” said Fr. Hatcher.

Learn more about St. Francis Mission at [South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Recent News

October 19, 2016 — Today, the Society of Jesus celebrates the eight North American Martyrs, sometimes known as the Feast of St. Isaac Jogues and Companions.

October 17, 2016 — Loyola Jesuit Secondary School in Kasungu, Malawi, is celebrating the start of its second school year after a successful inaugural year.

October 15, 2016 — General Congregation 36 delegrates celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Church of the Gesù.

October 14, 2016 — Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, SJ, of Venezuela was elected the 31st Superior General of the Society of Jesus at the Jesuits’ General Congregation 36 today in Rome.

October 12, 2016 — This Friday, the 212 electors meeting in Rome for the Jesuits’ General Congregation 36 will choose their new leader, who will serve as superior general of the largest religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church.

October 12, 2016 — Over 1,000 people have died in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew slammed the country on October 4.

October 10, 2016 — The murmuratio is a centuries-old practice.

view all news

Search news

Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 10/31/16

America 10/24/16

America 10/17/16

Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House
Located on the shores of Lake Lewisville in Lake Dallas, Texas, Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House is situated on an inviting 37-acre campus less than an hour north of Dallas.