Wednesday, May 28, 2014

St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius Mission on the Flathead Reservation was founded in 1854. At one timefrom 1875 to 1900the mission had a shop with a printing press which produced "Narratives from the Holy Scripture” in the Kalispell language and a Kalispell dictionary. A lumber mill, an agricultural and industrial school for boys, and a boarding school for girls and the mission church once sprawled across the landscape on the Flathead Reservation. Church officials laid the cornerstone of the present mission church in 1891. The quaint little church has a surprising treasure. Its walls and ceilings have sixty-one original paintings done by Brother Joseph Carignano, an Italian Jesuit who was the longtime cook and handyman at the mission. Although he had no formal art training, Brother Carignano painted the interior with murals of scenes from the Old and New Testaments and portraits of some of the saints. He did this magnificent work all in the little spare time he had from his many duties at the mission. His paintings are so astonishing that they have been described as miraculous. The beautiful Mission Mountain Range forms a spectacular backdrop behind the Mission Church.

Some believe the art Brother Carignano created at St. Ignatius Mission was a miracle.
Peter Ronan, for whom the town of Ronan was named, was superintendent on the Flathead reservation from 1877 to 1893. He and his wife, Mary, were devout Catholics and often employed graduates of the mission school in their household. The Ronans and their eight children visited the mission on special feast days. Mary looked forward to these visits. The seventeen-mile journey took several days. Peter and the boys would stay in the house of the Jesuits while the Sisters of Providence welcomed Mary and her daughters. The sisters were good friends. It seemed to Mary that the efficient and selfless mother superior embodied all that a mother should be. “Those visits,” Mary wrote, “shine in my memory as bright incidents and precious…”

The Sisters of Providence built this convent where Mary Ronan found respite in 1864.

1 comment:

  1. I have never been in the mission church which is really sad since we have driven by it so many times. It is incredible.