St. Francis Mission – Religious Education Teacher
St. Francis, SD
Year Founded: 1888
JVC partner for: 6 years
Population Served: The Lakota people of the Sioux tribe of the Rosebud Reservation, including 200 children in five communities
Organization Description: St. Francis Mission provides holistic services to the Lakota people through its parishes. The mission is a work of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and the work is suffused with the Jesuit charism. Jesuits work alongside Lakota leaders who work in the parish offices. The origins of the mission are traced to 1877 when chiefs of the Lakota and Ogalala tribes met with President Rutherford B. Hayes and requested that the “Black Robes” come and educate their people. The Jesuits were invited to the Rosebud Reservation to begin a school, and a year later a priest and three Franciscan sisters established the Mission School. St. Francis Mission has broadened its outreach to include parish ministry, the KINI radio station, religious education, alcohol recovery programs, a dental clinic, and a suicide prevention hotline.
JV’s Role: Several JVs live together in community on the reservation and support several of the Mission’s programs. The JVs have excellent opportunities to learn about and actively engage the local Native culture. The Religious Education Teacher works with the Lakota children and their families, and also has the opportunity to help with Sunday services, the KINI radio station, the Family Recovery Program, the museum, and the dental clinic. JVs serve for two years in St. Francis as a vital part of cultural immersion on the Rez.
How JVs Make an Impact: “The JVs provide a great sense of energy and passion to the work they do. They bring creativity and a lot of care to the children they work with. They also provide great connections between the various offices of the Mission.”