News Detail
Monument Celebrates Jesuit’s Role in Indian Missions & Oregon Trail
October 29, 2013 — A recently-installed monument of Jesuit Father Pierre-Jean De Smet in Soda Springs, Idaho, commemorates the 19th century Jesuit missionary's travels to establish the first of his American Indian missions in the Rocky Mountains.

The historical monument to Fr. De Smet, which includes a bronze bust and four narrative plaques, was dedicated on the 172nd anniversary of the arrival of Fr. De Smetand the first Oregon Trail Emigrant Wagon Train to Soda Springs, and ultimately, to California.

Fr. De Smet was in Soda Springs on Aug. 10, 1841, on his way to southwestern Montana’s Bitterroot Valley to establish the first of his Rocky Mountain Missions with the Flathead Indians. He was joined by the Bidwell-Bartleson group, the first immigrant wagon train of what would become the Oregon Trail that led to present-day Oregon and California. They joined Fr. De Smetand several other Jesuits in present-day Kansas City, Mo., after learning that Fr. De Smet had hired reliable guide Thomas Fitzpatrick.

Don Wind, an organizer of the Soda Springs monument and commemoration, said Bidwell later wrote in his memoir that without Fr. De Smet and his guide, "not a one of us would have reached California."

Fr. De Smet had met with the Flathead Indians in the Bitterroot Valley the previous year after four delegations of Indians from 1831 to 1839 had asked church authorities to send them a "black robe." The Flathead had heard about Christianity from the Iroquois who had been exposed to Christian beliefs 200 years earlier in the Great Lakes region and who had accompanied fur traders out West.

Fr. De Smet's trip West in 1840 helped him decide whether the Jesuits had the means and the men to serve the native people. He returned to St. Louis, New Orleans and other cities to raise funds for and to recruit men to join him in the missions. [Missouri Province]

 


Recent News

July 29, 2016 — A physician and Jesuit, Father Francisco Javier Díaz Díaz, SJ, was ordained to the priesthood this summer after 14 years of formation.

July 28, 2016 — World Youth Day 2016 kicked off on June 26 in Kraków, Poland, with millions of young adults from around the globe gathering to celebrate their Catholic faith.

July 27, 2016 — On June 24, Fordham University and Prep launched their yearlong 175th anniversary celebration.

July 24, 2016 — After six days of Ignatian experiments, pilgrims descended upon the city of Czestochowa in Poland, known for its shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa, or the Black Madonna.

July 19, 2016 — Jesuit Father Bob Fabing, who was close friends with Mother Teresa, will sing at her canonization on September 4.

July 18, 2016 — More than 2,000 MAGIS pilgrims are embarking on “Ignatian experiments” across four countries.

July 17, 2016 — 2,200 pilgrims arrived in Lódz for the opening of MAGIS 2016, a program of service and faith-sharing approximately a week and a half preceding WYD.

view all news

Search news

Publications
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 8/1/16

America - 7/18/16

America - 7/4/16



Charis Ministries
Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s throughout the country, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality.