Diocese of Rapid City

Panorama of Sioux Spiritual Center

Nestled in the breaks of the Cheyenne River in western South Dakota, the Sioux Spiritual Center reflects the ongoing dedication of the Rapid City Diocese and the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus to the spiritual and social well-being of the Lakota people. The Center, built by the Diocese and staffed by Jesuits, offers a variety of spiritual and educational programs. At the Center staff strive to create a sacred environment, a place between Heaven and Earth (Mahpiya na Maka Okogna in the Lakota language), where God's Spirit and the Lakota people can become one.

A 12-member Board of Directors, including 10 Native members, is headed by the Bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City. The board has developed a variety of programs designed to create a sacred site where God can minister to the Lakota people. The programs include:

  • Experiences in prayer that guide Lakota people on a path that offers the strength and spirit to face the challenges of everyday life, and the courage to create a vision for an obtainable future.

  • Weekend parish retreats to provide a time to be quiet; to hear the voice of the Spirit; to heal; to consult and to be at peace.

  • Recovery retreats to give hope to all those who are recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction. The Center provides a time and place for retreatants to strengthen the spiritual awakening begun in their treatment programs. These are inculturated weekends designed by Native people to allow them to draw on the healing richness of their Catholic and Lakota religious traditions.

  • Ministry retreats for those who choose to serve in formal ministries. The Center becomes a place of education and direction for Lakota leaders, men and women, ordained and non-ordained.

  • Canku Wakan: The Office of Native American Ministry, in cooperation with other Native people and the Sioux Spiritual Center staff developed an indigenous gathering called Canku Wakan — a four day experience of inculturated evangelization. This retreat is held at least twice a year.

  • The Sioux Spiritual Center hosts a seven day education program for missionary personnel known as the Basic Directions in Native American Ministry Institute. Sponsored by the National Tekakwitha Conference, the institute assists in the formation of missionary personnel being sent to work with Native peoples in North America.

  • The Center is the home base for the Inculturation Task Force, a group of Native people who are interested in developing a Catholic Lakota Church. They study and discuss about the use of Lakota culture in the Liturgy and discuss the relationship of Catholic theology and Lakota religious beliefs. The task force has made recommendations to the Bishop regarding the use of Lakota symbols in the Liturgy and publicized approved options for use in the Liturgy.

The Center Chapel in winter

The head of the Sioux Spiritual Center is Rev. Peter Etzel, S.J., For further information contact:

Sioux Spiritual Center
20100 Center Road
Howes, SD 57748-7703

History of SSC

Basic Directions in Native American Ministries

The Canku Wakan

Retreats 2013

SSC Home

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