The Saint Ignatius Mission is
located in the center of the Flathead Indian Reservation, just
south of Ronan in
Roman Catholic Mission, it was founded in 1854 by Fathers DeSmet,
Hoecken, and Menestry; all of which were Jesuits. The bricks were
made with local clay, the lumber was cut in nearby
At one time - from 1875 to
1900 - it included a printing press which produced
"Narratives from the Holy Scripture in Kalispell," and a
"Kalispell Dictionary;" a lumber mill; an agricultural
and industrial school for boys; and a boarding school for girls.
The cornerstone of the present mission church was laid in 1891.
Today, the mill, press and the schools are long gone - but the
church and two
smaller historical buildings remains. The church is renowned not for it's history,
or beautiful back-setting of scenery behind the St. Ignatius Mission Church, but by the
58 beautiful murals on the walls and ceiling and by who painted them.
are fifty-eight murals on the ceiling and walls of St
This gifted man was Brother Joseph Carignano (1853-1919), an
Italian Jesuit who served the mission as cook and handyman.
Although he had no formal training in art, he undertook to paint the church with
murals of scenes from the Old and New
Testaments, as well as paintings of some of the saints.
When you stand inside the church,
it is extremely difficult to believe that this was done
by an amateur who painted in what little time he could spare from
his primary duties as a cook and a custodian. The words that you will most
often see on the visitors register are, "miraculous" and
named Ki Kishi and his granddaughter.
Admission to the Mission and two
smaller historical buildings is free. Inside the two smaller
building are exhibits of early artifacts, Indian
arts and crafts, and other historical items. Donations are accepted.
Mission is open daily for tourists and for those who wish to
worship privately from 9:00am - 8:00pm in the summer. 9:00am -
5:00pm in the winter. Sunday Mass is at 9:30am.
About Father Pierre DeSmet:
Also built the original Cataldo Mission on the St. Joe in 1842 in
northern Idaho. He also named the
town of St. Maries (pronounced Saint Marys) near Lake Coeur
About Saint Ignatius:
In 1491, Ignatius of Loyola was born
into a noble Basque family in northern Spain. In his youth he was a
courtier, a swaggering "caballero," and a soldier in the
service of the Spanish king, Ferdinand.
Ignatius of Loyola.
While he was defending the fortress
at Pamplona in 1521, his leg was shattered by a cannonball. During a
prolonged and painful convalescence Ignatius experienced an interior
transformation that changed his whole life. A new desire to serve
Jesus replaced his former hopes of knightly glory.
The spring of 1539 found Ignatius
and his companions in Rome where they engaged in serious
discussions about how they might together serve God in the Church.
What emerged was a summary of their decisions, a formula for their
future. On September 27, 1540, Pope Paul III approved this formula
and the Society of Jesus was born.