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

February 15, 2017 — Fr. Cedric Prakash, SJ, of Jesuit Refugee Service, has seen the refugee crisis firsthand.

February 14, 2017 — Jesuits.org is sharing the following quotation attributed to Jesuit Father Joseph P. Whelan (d.1994) to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

February 10, 2017 — On January 27, student groups from Jesuit schools and other Catholic schools from across the country attended a Jesuit Mass for Life in Washington, D.C.

February 10, 2017 — On the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, pray for the end of the use of child soldiers.

February 8, 2017 — The Jesuits' Central American Province, the Provincial Committee for the Social Apostolate, and the Jesuit Migration Network of Central America express their concern about recent U.S. immigration measures.

February 7, 2016 — Brophy College Preparatory in has named Adria Renke as its 11th president since the founding of the school in 1928.


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 2/20/17

America 2/6/17

America 1/23/17



Creighton University Retreat Center
Located 45 miles east of Omaha, Neb., in rural Iowa, the Creighton University Retreat Center is situated on 154 wooded acres on the Nishnabotna River.