Books and Culture
Marilynne Robinson's new book of essays offers a rare combination of wisdom and beauty.
Twelve essays on faith and academic life
A searing tale about racial profiling following the 9/11 terrorist attacks
'Beasts of the Southern Wild' finds buried links between morality and a threatened ecosystem.
What I discovered at the World Science Festival
Signs of the Times
Resources on Vatican II
Life with the Lakota
If you are looking for hope in South Dakota, you do not look at numbers and percents and totals. Among the native Lakota people, social issues like alcohol, drug abuse and teen suicide rack up some depressing figures. The way down is fast and easy; climbing back up takes drive and help. If you are looking for hope in South Dakota, you look to people and listen to their stories. An impressive place to find these people and their stories is at St. Francis Mission. In 1881, Chief Two Strike invited Jesuits here to start a school. A large building went up quickly, financed by St. Katherine Drexel. Churches and other schools followed. St. Francis Mission today includes seven parishes, schools at various levels, a radio station, a museum and cultural center, a dental clinic and two recovery programs. All of these serve the 20,000 Lakota Sioux of the Rosebud Reservation. The recovery programs address a huge need, as alcohol and drug abuse create much suffering on the reservation. Geraldine Provencial is the director of one of these programs, the Icimani Center, where addicts and their families come to face their personal stories with honesty. The work is tough, but Provencial and her staff are up to the challenge.