at St. Ignatius Mission
Sunday 9 am & 5 pm
Tuesday 7:15 am
Friday 7:15 am
St. John Berchmans is
Sunday 11:30 am
Sunday Mass will also be live-streamed
from our sister parish, St. Francis Xavier at
To join the live stream with
Fr. Victor Cancino, SJ, from St. Francis Xavier in Missoula at 10:00 am
St. Ignatius in the news, click HERE.
‘Murals of Saint Ignatius Church highlight Easter season’
Bishop Austin A. Vetter continues to celebrate on-line liturgies. Daily masses are at noon and will be livestreamed on the diocesan website:
Bishop Vetter has encouraged all to pray the
‘Spiritual Communion Prayer’ when praying on-line.
St. Ignatius Mission consists of three communities: The Mission, Sacred Heart Mission/Arlee, and John Berchmans/Jocko. Located among the Salish & Kootenai peoples, we are Catholic communities of the Diocese of Helena grounded in the Jesuit tradition. We search for God's will on a continuous basis, responding to the evolving needs of our people and our society, especially in the areas of sacramental ministry, enculturation, spiritual development, faith formation, and social justice.
Indian Peoples and Jesuits in the West have participated together in an unfolding story for the past 180 years.
– Patrick J. Twohy, S.J.
Visions came in the late 1700’s to Chief Shining Shirt of the Pend d’Oreille Salish in Mission Valley, Montana, that one day men would come in black robes and teach important new truths about religion. Some years later Catholic Iroquois spread throughout the West working as canoemen for the Hudson’s Bay Company. They too spoke of a new religion and of men in black robes who carried a crucifix and said a great prayer.
These early traditions had a dramatic meeting in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley south of Missoula in 1820. A band of Catholic Mohawk Iroquois had migrated under the leadership of Ignace LaMousse and settled among the Bitterroot Salish. Old Ignace, as he was known, taught the sign of the cross and Catholic prayers to the Salish and other tribes, baptized their children, and marked their graves with a cross. He urged the need for Blackrobes who could say the great prayer (Mass) among them.
In 1831 a delegation of Pend d’Oreille and Bitterroot Salish along with allied Nez Perce journeyed 1600 miles to St. Louis to seek Blackrobes. The delegates’ deaths prevented the acquisitions of Blackrobes. In 1835, and again in 1837, Old Ignace traveled to St. Louis to petition for Blackrobes. However, a Sioux attack on the South Platte River resulted in the deaths of LaMousse and his traveling companions.
In 1839, a Salish delegation encountered Fr. Peter De Smet, a Belgian Jesuit in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and convinced him to come West. Arriving in 1840, De Smet was so impressed with the eagerness of the Salish and Nez Perce, their knowledge of Christianity, and their morals, he returned to St. Louis to secure funding for the founding of Catholic Missions.
In rapid succession, De Smet and his fellow Jesuits founded missions among the Salish in 1841, the Coeur d’Alenes in 1842, the Kalispels in 1844 and the Colviles in 1845.
St. Ignatius Mission Parish was founded in 1845 by Fathers De Smet, S.J. and Adrian Hoecken, S.J. near present day Usk, Washington and moved to our present location in 1854. The Mission, and the town which grew up around it, were the home to the first Jesuit theologate and industrial arts school in Montana. The home to the first Catholic Sisters, (1864), first Catholic school, and hospital in Montana. St. Ignatius Mission is one of the oldest continually active Catholic parish, in the Jesuit tradition, in the West.
Excerpted and edited from the pamphlets written by Jesuits who served at St. Ignatius Mission and Judy Griztmacher.