Ursuline Sisters from India feel at home on Pine Ridge Reservation

Sr. Rana Rosalia, USF, and Sr. Otoli Sumi, USF, are Ursuline Sisters from India serving in the Diocese of Rapid City. (Photo by Marcus Fast Wolf)

Diocesan residents are accustomed to most of the religious orders working here for many years. There are two nuns serving on the Pine Ridge Reservation, whose order may be less familiar. Sr. Rana Rosalia, USF, and Sr. Otoli Sumi, USF, teach in the Red Cloud Indian School System. The sisters arrived Nov. 2, 2018, and work here based on an the agreement between their province and the Red Cloud schools.

According to Sr. Rana, the Ursuline Franciscan Sisters were founded by Fr. Urban Stein a German Jesuit on April 10, 1887. Their charism is: “To launch deep into the lives of the people, to find God in all things with the freedom to renounce riches and embrace poverty.”

The order’s Motherhouse is in Mangalore, India and there are five provinces in India, and two regions — European Region (Germany and Italy), African Region (Tanzania and Kenya), and a Mission in the United States.

Sr. Rana said, “We got to know about the Pine Ridge Mission from the Kohima Region Jesuits (in India). It is the native ministry among the Lakotas that drew us here. Being religious and serving among the tribes in the North-Eastern part of India, this mission resonates with our mission in many ways. We feel one with them.”

At Red Cloud, the sisters’ primary mission is to teach religion (spiritual formation) for grades K-4 and 5-8.

When asked about Holy Rosary Mission, Sr. Rana said, “We are happy with the mission that is entrusted to us. It is a beautiful place with beautiful people with lots of challenges. We love the diversity of our mission. We love ‘The Lakota Catholic Way’ in dealing with the students in the class, with the parishioners, and people at large.”

(West River Catholic Report)

Servants of the Pierced Hearts express love through service

The Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary is a religious order founded by Mother Adela Galindo, SCTJM in Nicaragua, when she was a girl, because of a dangerous political climate and immigrated to the United States. On the order’s website she says, “My path is Marian; everything in my life has been a gift of Our Lady’s Heart.”

This diocesan religious order was officially established in the Archdiocese of Miami on August 15, 1990, feast of the Assumption of Mary. Today, it has sisters in 14 convents. Most are in the U.S., and one is in Rome for the Archdiocese of Italian Military. The latest convent, Our Lady of Fatima, is in Rapid City. There are four sisters serving in the diocese; two in St. Thomas Moore Middle and High School and two in the chancery.

In 2000, Mother Adela founded a lay members’ branch called “Apostles of the Pierced Hearts.” In 2006 she founded the “Missionaries of Love” branch to serve the sick at the Shrine of Lourdes in France.

On June 29, 2021, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Fr. Joseph Mary made first vows in the male branch. There are two young men in formation to be brothers; one is a novice and the other is a postulant.

Sr. Christine Hernandez, SCTJM, serves at the chancery. She estimates there are about 800 members of the religious family, including clergy, vowed religious, lay members and youth or young adults.

Those joining take the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience and a fourth vow of total Marian identification and availability: “to be a living image and presence of the Heart of Mary and to generously dispose the potentialities of my feminine genius in loving communion and service of the Apostolic — Petrine principle, thus enfleshing our Marian charism in the heart of the church,” she said. (For the men it is total identification with Christ in the school of Our Lady.)

“This is what we are all trying to be, the living image and presence of Our Lady. We do whatever God needs us to do with the same disposition of heart as Our Lady, to be open and available for the good of the church.

“We express our love through service, for example if I have to iron a shirt, I will see if someone else needs a shirt ironed,” she said.

On a typical day, the sisters are up early to pray morning prayer together, have breakfast and go to Mass together. After Mass they each go to their ministries. They come together at the end of the day to pray evening prayer, the holy rosary and have dinner together. “Usually, we listen to one of Mother’s talks or read one of her letters during dinner. Afterwards, we pray our Holy Hour, we do spiritual reading — it is a time of study. We pray night prayer at 9:30 p.m. Afterwards there’s more time to get our duties done for the day. After night prayer we are in silence until the next morning after breakfast,” she said. Sr. Christine added, “We are a family so there is time of sharing, laughter, and joy. Love is expressed through our service for others and each other.”

She elaborated, “We try to have time for music practice, crafts and community projects that help our community. Each sister is encouraged to learn a musical instrument when they join. Not that everyone is musically inclined, or tech savvy, but all are urged to find out what they are good at and with the help of the community to grow in that gift.”

Members are asked to learn prayers in both Spanish and English. Those who are bilingual are encouraged to try to learn a third language.

Aside from their official logo, another very important symbol for the order is the pelican piercing its own breast to feed its young. Early Christians compared it to Christ giving his blood for us on the cross.

“It is said that Mary’s heart too was pierced at the foot of the Cross, she too suffered for us,” said Sr. Christine

(West River Catholic Report)

‘Black Elk’s hunger and thirst for holiness can inspire us’

Bishop Peter Muhich stands at the grave of Servant of God Nicholas Black Elk. A memorial Mass for Black Elk was held at St. Agnes Church, Manderson, Aug. 17. It has been four years since the diocese opened the cause for canonization. (Courtesy photo)

Homily August 17 for
Black Elk Memorial Mass
+August 17, 1950


“Blessed are the poor in spirit … Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

These words of Our Lord from the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel are a fitting Scripture passage for our Memorial Mass today because they describe this holy man, this holy soul.

Black Elk, baptized “Nicholas’” as you know perhaps better than I, is an authentic witness to the spiritual depth of Lakota culture and an authentic witness to Jesus Christ. He bridges both the Lakota and the Catholic in a beautiful and inspiring way that helps up appreciate how God is present in Lakota culture and how Lakota culture can enrich the church.

St. John’s vision in our first reading from the Book of Revelation is of “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation, race, people and tongue” standing before the throne and the Lamb in company with all the angels singing “salvation comes from our God/Ancient One and from the Lamb.” With the elders the multitude exclaims, “Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power and might to God forever and ever.” I can say that we hear these words with a distinctly Lakota voice today as we remember the remarkable life of Nicholas Black Elk in this celebration of the Eucharist — the church’s most sublime act of prayer that joins us to that worship of the Ancient One and the Lamb around the throne in heaven in John’s vision.

The church needs Black Elk’s witness and indigenous voice now more than ever, in a world where suspicion and polarization are on the increase. In his recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti our Holy Father, Pope Francis, invites us to “dream as a single human family, as fellow travelers, as children of the same earth which is our common home, for we are all brothers and sisters.” I echo his words today: let us dream with Nicholas Black Elk, the great Lakota mystic, of a way beyond the sins of our past (which we must be accountable for) and the prejudices which we still carry with us; let us dream of a time of purification and healing that can free us to walk the good red road hand in hand.

For, as our second reading from the first Letter of John says so simply and profoundly, “we are God’s children” destined to “be like him who is goodness, truth and beauty itself.”

Nicholas Black Elk’s poverty of spirit reminds us that every breath we take, and every moment of our lives is a gift and that we should not only be grateful but generous, imitating the Giver of every good gift. Black Elk’s hunger and thirst for holiness can inspire us to yearn for a closer friendship with God, that always brings with it a closer friendship with each other.

As you know, Nicholas Black Elk’s cause is making progress in Rome. We have heard through the good auspices of the Jesuit Fathers and Brothers that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has received all the necessary materials put together by our diocesan committee and that they are now being examined and studied. We have heard that Pope Francis is aware of this cause which is consoling as we continue to pray for Nicholas’ beatification and ultimate canonization.

Please join me in not only praying for Black Elk’s cause but in letting him and his unique life-story touch our hearts and enlighten our minds.


Let me close by using the last section of Pope Francis’ prayer at the end of Fratelli Tutti (We Are All Brothers and Sisters):

“Come, Holy Spirit, show us your beauty, reflected in all the peoples of the earth, so that we may discover anew that all are important, and all are necessary, different faces of the one humanity that God so loves.” Amen

Nicholas Black Elk, Pray or us!

+ Bishop Peter


Employment Opportunity: WSDCF Executive Director


Job Posting: Executive Director

The Executive Director plans, organizes, implements and evaluates all activities for the support and benefit of the Western South Dakota Catholic Foundation (WSDCF). The Executive Director is responsible for growing the WSDCF and its mission, execution and management of fund raising activities and the establishment of endowments and development of donor relationships. The Executive Director Ensures all activities are conducted in support of the mission, philosophy, and values of the Roman Catholic Church in Western South Dakota. Applicants should be a Catholic in good standing with the Church. A Master’s Degree or equivalent in philanthropy, business administration or related field is preferred.

The Western South Dakota Catholic Foundation (WSDCF) is a non-profit fundraising organization which works to secure endowment and other gifts to benefit the mission, activities, projects, and programs of the Roman Catholic Church in Western South Dakota. WSDCF is currently seeking an Executive Director

For Inquires: Call WSDCF at 605-721-6843 or email cover letter and resume to chubbeling@wsdcf.org

Parishes Kick-Off Evangelization Efforts

On Sept. 8, the Catholic observance of the Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary, Mass was celebrated in downtown Rapid City at Main St. Square.