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 Diocese of Rapid City and the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus to the spiritual and social well-being of the Lakota people. The center 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 twelve member Board of Directors, the majority of which is Native American, is headed by Bishop Robert Gruss. The board has developed a variety of programs at this sacred site where God can minister to the Lakota People.
- 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.
- In the 1990s, the center served as the meeting place for an Inculturation Task Force, a group of Native people who studied and discussed the relationship of Catholic theology and Lakota religious beliefs, with a view to incorporate Lakota symbol, rituals, and prayer forms within Catholic Liturgy. Their efforts resulted in the 1999 document, “Recommendations for Inculturation of Lakota Catholicism.” The center has also served to train Lakota catechists. The center continues to hold retreats for those participating in the Lay Ministry Formation Program and to conduct retreats and workshops for candidates for the permanent diaconate and their wives.