Choose from a variety of T-shirts - See more...

St. Mary’s Mission

St Mary's Mission Church, 333 Charlos St, Stevensville, Montana, Združene države Amerike

Website of the Sanctuary

+1 406 777 5734

Historic St. Mary’s Mission stands in the shadow of St. Mary’s Peak in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. Fr. Pierre De Smet, a Jesuit priest, founded the Mission in 1841.

The well-preserved buildings and artifacts of the Mission Complex afford visitors a look back at the historical beginnings of the birth of the State and the settlement of the West. See top 15 Catholic shrines in the world.

Historic St. Mary’s Chapel 

Historic St. Mary’s Mission, was founded in 1841 by Fr. Pierre DeSmet, a Jesuit priest. This is the fourth of the Chapels built in the valley for the Salish people. The front part of the Chapel was built in 1866. It was enlarged from the archway back, with completion in 1879.

The colors have been restored to the original shades used by Fr. Ravalli who achieved his brilliant colors by using vermilion clay for the reds, blue from indigo traded among the tribes, yellow, a sacred color, came from a cave at the mouth of the Judith River.

The Mission was closed from 1891, when the Salish were forced to move to the Jocko Reservation. It was re-opened in 1921 and served as the Parish Church until 1954.

Pierre Jean De Smet

Pierre Jean De Smet was born in Termonde (Dendermonde), Belgium in 1801. He attended the Preparatory Seminary at Mechelen, Belgium in 1820. During this time, Fr. Charles Nerinckx visited seeking recruits for his mission in Kentucky. De Smet was fascinated with the prospect of ministering to the Indian tribes and joined the group of recruits. See more Catholic Shrines and pilgrimages in North America.

Following his emigration to America he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Whitemarsh, Maryland in 1821 and took his vows for the priesthood at Florissant, Missouri in 1827.

In his lifetime, Fr. De Smet was responsible for the establishment of many missions in the far west and would travel over 180,000 miles (some estimates are as high as 260,000), making 19 trans-Atlantic crossings seeking missionaries and funds for those missions.

In 1849 Fr. De Smet was appointed Assistant Vice Provincial and Procurator of Missouri. Due to his rapport with the natives and the trust they placed in him, he was called upon several times to assist the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Army in their peace negotiations with the Indians.

Most notable of these was his meeting with Chief Sitting Bull and the resultant peace treaty agreed to by the Sioux tribe in 1868. He was also instrumental in establishing peace among warring tribes. His trips to Europe to seek funds for the missions continued until his health failed. Fr. De Smet died in St. Louis, Missouri on May 23, 1873.

 

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Historic St. Mary’s Chapel 

Historic St. Mary’s Mission, was founded in 1841 by Fr. Pierre DeSmet, a Jesuit priest. This is the fourth of the Chapels built in the valley for the Salish people. The front part of the Chapel was built in 1866. It was enlarged from the archway back, with completion in 1879. The colors have been restored to the original shades used by Fr. Ravalli who achieved his brilliant colors by using vermilion clay for the reds, blue from indigo traded among the tribes, yellow, a sacred color, came from a cave at the mouth of the Judith River.

The Mission was closed from 1891, when the Salish were forced to move to the Jocko Reservation. It was re-opened in 1921 and served as the Parish Church until 1954.

Today, services in the Chapel are held on a limited basis and regardless of one’s religious leanings it is inspiring to sit in the age-old building and harken back to the beginnings of the State of Montana.

Your tour of Historic St. Mary’s Mission begins in the Visitor’s Center where you can explore the museum, art gallery and gift shop. Following a brief video that provides a foundation for the walking tour, experienced guides take you on a visit of the Mission complex which includes St. Mary’s Chapel with attached residence, dining area and kitchen, Father Ravalli’s cabin and pharmacy, Chief Victor’s cabin which houses a Salish museum and the old dove cote. Throughout the buildings are original hand carved furnishings by Fr. Ravalli, Salish artifacts, historic documents and photos of days gone by. You will pass by an apple tree, planted in the mid-1800s by Fr. Ravalli. While showing its age, the tree continues to bear fruit and stands as a reminder of the history of this lovely site “Where Montana Began”.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Your tour of Historic St. Mary’s Mission begins in the Visitor’s Center where you can explore the museum, art gallery and gift shop.  Following a brief video that provides a foundation for the walking tour, experienced guides take you on a visit of the Mission complex which includes St. Mary’s Chapel with attached residence, dining area and kitchen, Father Ravalli’s cabin and pharmacy, Chief Victor’s cabin which houses a Salish museum and the old dove cote. Throughout the buildings are original hand carved furnishings by Fr. Ravalli, Salish artifacts, historic documents and photos of days gone by. You will pass by an apple tree, planted in the mid-1800s  by Fr. Ravalli.  While showing its age, the tree continues to bear fruit and stands as a reminder of  the history of this lovely site “Where Montana Began”.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Inside the Historic St. Mary’s Chapel

  • Tall candle sticks turned on a hand lathe by Fr. Ravalli.
  • Statue of St. Mary was carved from a pine log in two sections. The robe was colored blue with berry juice.
  • Urns were carved from wood and painted to resemble marble.
  • Black robe statue is of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuit order. Constructed using an iron frame, shaped, draped with canvas, then covered with black tar and paint. The head and hands are carved wood. The shoes, belt and rosary are real.
  • A Crucifix made by Fr. Ravalli using the handle from a shepherd’s crook.
  • Altar, railing and all other wood work done by Fr. Ravalli
  • Light fixture is original found on the grounds and was repaired by a blacksmith.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

History of St. Mary’s Mission

Historic St. Mary’s Mission stands in the shadow of St. Mary’s Peak in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. Fr. Pierre De Smet, a Jesuit priest, founded the Mission in 1841. The State of Montana grew from those early beginnings of the settlement first called St. Mary’s and later named Stevensville. The town holds the distinct honor of being the place “Where Montana Began”. The well-preserved buildings and artifacts of the Mission Complex afford visitors a look back at the historical beginnings of the birth of the State and the settlement of the West.

In 2010 the Historic St. Mary’s Mission complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Posted in North America and United States