Fr. Luis Escalante, postulator from the Congregation for Causes of Saints, Rome, looks up from the diocesan history book, “We Walk by Faith.” (WRC photo)
On July 26, in Rapid City, a local committee organized for the canonization of Nicholas Black Elk, servant of God, convened. The group called Officials of the Inquiry met with Fr. Luis Escalante, postulator from the Congregation for Causes of Saints, Rome. Also attending was Ken Stuart, Archives Research Administrator for the South Dakota State Archives/South Dakota State Historical Society. Stewart is working on the induction of Black Elk into the S. D. Hall of Fame on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 9:30 a.m. in Chamberlain. The Black Elk descendants were represented by Myron Pourier, the great-great-grandson of Black Elk.
On July 27, Father Escalante went to Christ the King Church, Porcupine, and reviewed the files Vice Postulator Bill White has collected.
After Porcupine, Father Escalante went to Holy Rosary Mission in Pine Ridge. Black Elk’s work as a catechist originated from the mission in 1907. He is credited with bringing more than 400 people into the Catholic Church.
The diocesan phase of the process still includes gathering testimonies. In early 2019, the records will be sent to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome for review. No one knows how long the canonization process will take. To view the requirements of sainthood, check the West River Catholic digital archives, at https://www.rapidcitydiocese.org/west-river-catholic-october-2017/ see page 6.