Dedication Ceremony Forms a Bridge Between Two Cultures

By JoAnn Biren

Murray County News Staffwriter

Maybe starting at the conclusion although the word conclusion means end, finish, conclude; the special ceremony held at St. Rose of Lima Cemetery in Avoca will never be concluded.  It is really the beginning of something beautiful; peaceful.

The final hymn played so beautifully by Jean Tentinger and led by Sue Bau and Dr. Connie McNab, on Sunday afternoon gives hope that there isn’t an end.

Come to their aid, O saints of God; come meet them angels of the Lord.  Receive their souls O holy ones; present them now to God most high.   

Six Native American young women, far from home, probably confused as to why there was a need to learn a new language, to rid themselves of their identity; their Native traditions, clothing, their entire way of life.

Men, sitting in Washington D.C. in the 19th century made the decision to authorize English as the elite and only language.  Boarding schools in the late 1800’s were common; Native American children were forced to learn a new language, to dress a new way and to bury deep in their conscience their traditions.  Many were removed from their homes, forced to attend distant boarding schools.

Enter into this picture Bishop John Ireland and the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus.  An opening paragraph from “Westward Ho! A Photographic Exhibition of the Beginnings of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus Mission to the West” reads that westward expansion in the United States was “spurred by the railroads.”

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