Used with permission from Marquette University Archives

Most Reverend Martin Marty, OSB

Apostolic Vicar of the Dakota Territory

Motto: DEFENDE NOS (“Defend Us”)


  • Born January 12, 1834, in Schwyz, Switzerland
  • Ordained to the priesthood, September, 1856
    Ordained and installed as first apostolic vicar of the Dakota Territory, February 1, 1880
  • Installed as first bishop of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, 1889
  • Installed as second bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud, MN, 1894
  • Died September 19, 1896, in Luxemburg


Marty came to the U.S. in 1860 and became the first abbot of St. Meinrad’s Abbey in Indiana in 1870. He traveled to the Dakota Territory in1876 to help establish a mission on the Standing Rock Reservation. When Marty became apostolic vicar of the Dakota Territory in 1880, the territory was under the jurisdiction of the vicariate of Nebraska. There were only 12 priests in the territory, leading Marty to actively recruit priests from the eastern U.S. and foreign countries. When he became bishop of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, there were fewer than 60 priests in the diocese, which encompassed the entire state of South Dakota