Sunday, July 28

My bags are packed and it is time for me to leave St. Joseph Indian School. I move on to new challenges and adventures that await me in the role of Provincial Superior of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

Last week, I met a few of the new staff taking part in the LSCI (Life Space Crisis Intervention) training. All the new staff will be on campus Monday for their weeklong orientation. All our Child Services staff gathers on August 5 for training and preparation for the school year. Then comes my favorite day of the year (this year Sunday August 11)… when the homes open and the Lakota students begin returning!

I enjoy reconnecting with students and hearing about their summer. I check in with St. Joseph’s teachers and houseparents after their break. I will miss that day very much. I’ll miss getting to know the 40-something new students we’ve accepted into our program. I’ll miss working with our creative and passionate staff.

A college football coach was talking on Sportscenter the other night about his efforts at rebuilding. He had a great senior class, and this year’s incoming freshmen will have some big shoes to fill

“Seniors graduate every year . . .  but the legacy continues”

The same is true here. Students and staff will move on, but St. Joseph’s Indian School not only endures, it thrives. We have a great tradition and legacy here. I am grateful and blessed to have been part of it for the past nine years.

My last events were a mass Saturday evening and a social afterward in the Rec Center. I’ve had a host of farewells these past couple of weeks, and shed more than a few tears. The tears are both sadness at parting and joy from all that we’ve experienced and accomplished together. I felt a sense of joy for a last celebration, hug, or memory with people I’ve shared so much with.

We wrapped up shortly before 10. The sky outside was still a warm red and purple, lingering colors from a gorgeous sunset over the Missouri River. I will miss those spectacular sunsets. The fountain in front of the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center was still running, and the sound of water very soothing.

Our SCJ Founder, Leo John Dehon had a favorite scripture – Ecce Venio – Behold, I come to do your will O God.

In the quiet of the night, alone in the parking lot with just me and the Creator, I felt a deep sense of peace.

Difficult as it is to leave, I’ve come to a place of acceptance. I am ready to move on, looking forward to the next time I’ll return to enjoy all the amazing staff and students who grace this campus.

God Bless you always!

Fr. Steve