Friday, October 23, 2009

Fr. De Smet and the Flathead Indians

It is well known that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church" (Tertullian). One way in which the seed of the martyrdom of St. Isaac Jogues and the other North American Martyrs bore fruit was in the form of a band of Catholic Iroquois who many decades later encountered and evangelized the Flathead Indians of the Rocky Mountain area of North America.

The Flatheads had an oral tradition prophesying the arrival of black-robed, pale-faced men. Once the Iroquois clarified this oral tradition for the Flatheads, their desire for the Faith was so great that they made several long and arduous expeditions to St. Louis, Missouri, pleading with the bishop to send them a priest. Finally, the bishop sent them Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet, a Belgian Jesuit. What ensued is a most remarkable story, told in two beautiful audio sermons, available for free mp3 download via these links:

The Flathead Indians and the Black Robes - Part I

The Flathead Indians and the Black Robes - Part II

Photograph of Fr. De Smet from Wikimedia Commons. In the public domain.


Anonymous said...


What a perfect story to tell for this Sunday, we are celebrating World Priest Day.

Thank you again for sharing.

We must pray for more Black Robes.

Kind regards,


Marie-Jacqueline said...

Thank you, Ginger. It is a wonderful story, isn't it?


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