Sunday, October 10, 2021

Mosaic Monday #151: On a Mission

By the time you read this post, I will have been in Santa Fe, New Mexico for at least 24 hours.  As I was deciding on a blog post topic for this week, I came across the brochure for St. Ignatius Mission.  No, it's not in New Mexico - it's in Montana!  Spousal Unit and I visited the Mission in November 2017, six months after our move to the Treasure State.  What better way to get into the mood for the Southwest than to re-visit the Mission, virtually?  Vamanos!

The Mission, and the town that grew up around it, was founded in 1854 by Jesuit missionaries and named for their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola.  In the following years it was the home of the first Jesuit theologate and industrial arts school in the Northwest, the first Catholic Sisters and Catholic School in Montana, and the first hospital, sawmill, flour mill, printing press, carpenter shop and blacksmith shop in the Mission Valley.

Today, there remains only the Mission church, built in 1891 and now a National Historic Site, and two small cabins, the original homes of the Jesuit Fathers and the Providence Sisters.

The history of the Mission started long before its founding in 1854.  Beginning in the spring of 1831 and ending in 1839, no less than four Indian delegations travelled to St. Louis, Missouri or Council Bluffs, Iowa to secure missionaries for their people.  They encountered many challenges such as other hostile Indian tribes or language barriers, but they persevered.

In 1864, a wooden church, measuring one hundred by forty feet, with a belfry one hundred feet high, was constructed from materials furnished by the town sawmill.  This church served the Mission until the building of the present church began in 1891.  Over a two-year period, the missionaries and the Indian people together built the church of bricks made from local clay and trees cut in the foothills and sawed at the Mission mill.

The "golden age" of the Mission occurred between the years of 1875 and 1900.  During this time a printing press was established, which produced such works as Narratives from the Holy Scripture in Kalispel and a Kalispel Dictionary, considered by one authority as "one of the most important works issued by any missionary press."   The schools continued to grow.

The interior of the church contains 58 murals, painted in the early twentieth century.  The artist was Brother Joseph Carignano (1853 - 1919), an Italian Jesuit who spent many years as the cook and handyman at the Mission.  With no professional training in art, but a great amount of energy and dedication, he completed his work in between his regular jobs.

Even while the Mission prospered, the Indian people were suffering hard times.  The Indian people had thought that the treaty of 1855 assured their continued existence in the Bitter Root Valley.  However, by that treaty and subsequent presidential and congressional acts, all Indians living in the Bitter Root Valley were required to move to the Flathead Indian Reservation in the Jocko Valley area.

The present century has seen many changes in the Mission at St. Ignatius.  The cutting of federal funds, and later, the end of financial help from the Catholic Indian Bureau, led to the eventual closing of the schools.  Three disastrous fires in less than 30 years also contributed to the changes.  After the last fire, Villa Ursula was built, and the Ursuline Sisters continued to provide education at the Mission until the school's closing in 1972.

*all of the above information was drawn from the St. Ignatius Mission booklet

On our way home from the Mission, we stopped at the Windmill Village Bakery.  Set back from the road along a two-lane highway, it would be easily missed.  I seem to remember reading about it on a list of "must-visit" Montana locations, so we were actually on the look-out for it.  The Bakery was worthy of its reputation.  From the moment you enter, your nose is tantalized by the addicting aroma of donuts.  We met one of the owners, Nancy.  Her mom originally owned a bakery in nearby Thompson Falls, and Nancy still uses her donut recipe.  So, now we make a point to stop there anytime we are passing (which might only be twice a year).  We were quite disappointed when, as we were returning from our road trip to Idaho Falls, the Bakery was not open.  Hopefully, when we help #1 Son make his move to Idaho Falls in the New Year, we can satisfy our craving.  We'll be on a mission!

** I will be slow in commenting this week but I will visit you.  

Also, I will be taking a break for 1 week - there will be no Mosaic Monday on October 17.  Come back on October 24!

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Tuesday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Hello, Angie
    The Mission images are beautiful. So many lovely details. The donuts look yummy. Safe travels, enjoy your trip! Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy new week!

  2. Rememberings are fantastic... and of course this special Mission you posted here. I love this historical building and their Story behind.

    Wish you wonderful holidays, enjoy this time and take care.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  3. Such a beautiful interior for that church.

  4. I enjoyed your post, the Church has such a wonderful interior doesn't it.

    Enjoy your trip.

    All the best Jan

  5. That mission sure is beautiful! Have a fun, fun time!

  6. I never knew that Montana had a mission! My husband and I once drove from San Diego, CA to San Francisco, along the coast on Pacific Highway One, and we visited many beautiful missions along the way. Each has such an interesting story. This Mission of St Ignatius Loyola is really beautiful! Thank you for sharing its story.
    The donuts also look divine! Enjoy your blog break, Angie.

  7. Very cool story. My first time to participate. Thanks for hosting.

  8. What an interesting place, the paintings are beautiful. Enjoy your break.

  9. Dear Angie,
    this is really a place I didn't expect in Montana. The mission is reminiscent of religious buildings in Europe, but has a friendlier look than most of the old churches here thanks to the light vaulted ceiling and the white glass windows. Brother Joseph Carignano did a wonderful job with his paintings!
    I keep my fingers crossed that you will soon be able to enjoy the delicious donuts again. (By the way, the black cat in the picture looks like our Nina, only the white patch on the chest is bigger on "your" cat.)
    I wish you a wonderful time in Santa Fe. (In contrast to my husband, I've never been in New Mexico, but as a kid I loved the TV series The Rifleman - the German title was "Westlich von Santa Fe" = "West of Santa Fe". So I also associate positive memories with this area ;-))
    All the best from Austria and a happy new week,

  10. We love Santa Fe and this is a beautiful time to visit! Enjoy your trip! Wish I was there! Hugs!

  11. What an amazing church! Happy travelling in Santa Fe. We loved it when we visited there quite some time ago!

  12. Bravo!!! Thanks for sharing your visit.

    Happy Monday


  13. Enjoy your visit in New Mexico! I love visiting Missions and older churches, too.

  14. Thank most sincerely for hosting and for sharing such a lovely post!
    XO Daniela at ~ My little old world ~

  15. I'm going to copy and paste the url of your blog on my dasboard to follow you :)

  16. Interesting but sad history. Impressive building.

  17. Happy trails to you! Such history.

  18. Dear Angie - I’m attracted by the architectural beauty of the church. Thanks for the information, which I’m totally ignorant of. The sugar-coated donut made my mouth water. Have a nice trip in Santa Fe. My friend told me it’s a beautiful little tourist town, center for American Indian culture.


  19. Love the beautiful interior of the church.

    Have a wonderful trip, Angie.

  20. it was my dream to visit santa fe when we moved west. I am not safe to travel because of covid so we might never get to see it.

  21. Brother Joseph Carignano obviously had a gift. The murals are amazing. I love Santa Fe. Enjoy your time there.

  22. Hope you have a great trip, Angie.

  23. Shame you missed the bakery Angie. There's little to compare with the sights and smells from a Real Bakery. I sometimes drive into Knott End and stand outside the bakery to drool through the window. Their coffee Renoir. OMG!

  24. What a beautiful church. Your penance for culinary sins is to eat only one bite of your doughnut!

  25. I've always wanted to visit Santa Fe, Hope you're having fun.

  26. Oh wow... what a gorgeous mission! The ceiling is breathtaking!


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