Exciting tidbits from the diocesan archives …

This 99 year old monstrance from St. Katherine Drexel was used at the Office of Faith Formation’s Refuel Conference, Jan. 17-18. It is carried by
Fr. Brian Christensen assisted by Deacon Jim Scherr. The monstrance was donated to St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation by St. Katherine in 1921 when the church was rebuilt after being destroyed by a fire. St. Francis Mission is one of the two missions she first founded.

Preserving a Catholic Community
By Kathy Cordes, Diocesan Archivist

As the story goes and my research continues, around 1941 there was an Alabaster Store in Rapid City? Just what is an alabaster store? Sound familiar, anyone? Calling all history buffs, I would love to hear your stories!

As we begin to plan our move, the archives along with each department in the Chancery, is working with record retention policies adhering to state and federal laws along with Canon (church) laws. Today, most records are not only in paper form but digital media. Meta data and digital footprints are extremely important today to preserve our history. Preserving these different types of media remains problematic and we must also preserve the equipment with which to view electronic records and have them remain operational for future use.  

Boxes, large and small, photographs and film slides, media, magazines and even a medical stethoscope have made their way into my office this last month. It is exciting to plan, according to archival practices, what can be disseminated, what must be stored and provenance to keep. Which begs the question — where in the world did this stethoscope come from? I think a visit to the Sisters of St. Martins is in order to see what stories they can tell me.

Time Capsules are historical monuments to capture memories. With the inception of a new pastoral center for western South Dakota, a small time capsule will be put together by staff. Beginning with Bishop Gruss to Fr. Michel Mulloy what better way to have our next generation remember our mission, our hospitality and the Year of the Eucharist. A small cedar box was chosen which was handmade by Fr. D. Craig Cower and will be on display in the archives of the new Pastoral Center.

New Black Elk prayer cards are on their way. The prayer for Nicholas Black Elk has been updated.The picture of him praying with his daughter Lucy has been sharpened on the Prayer for Canonization card. Prayers in English, Spanish and German versions are being made. Deacon Ben Black Bear is translating a Lakota version. 

Two museums in our own backyard will be featured this summer in issues of the West River Catholic. Fr. Jacob Boddicker, SJ will be a guest columnist for the “Curia Corner.” He will feature the Beuchel Memorial Lakota Museum on the Rosebud Reservation. This museum recently loaned the Refuel conference the monstrance of St. Katherine Drexel.

The Heritage Museum of the Holy Rosary Mission in Pine Ridge, South Dakota is the other museum. Mary Maxon, director, will be the guest columnist and will feature this museum. Both museums have collected many Lakota artifacts from their respective reservations and possess a wealth of information for our future generations.  Stay tuned for these exciting profiles.

Our diocesan mission statement shows us how to live, to proclaim the mission of Jesus Christ and to preserve our diocesan and church history for future generations. These records of enduring value, whether historical or intrinsic, enable us to maintain the rich and true history of our diocese. For all the blessings that God has provided for us, the information and artifacts that come the way of the archives are truly treasures.