Father Francis M. Craft, Missionary to the Sioux

By Thomas W. Foley | Go to book overview

XX
HOMECOMING

Early in 1901, Craft and his last remaining sister sailed for America.1 Mother Joseph (Josephine Two Bears) returned to her home in the Dakotas, married Joachim Haiiychin in 1903, and died giving birth to twins in March 1909.2

As Father Craft retreated to his family’s homestead in Milford, Pennsylvania, Monsignor Stephan, approaching eighty years of age, returned from an extended visit to Europe, where he had attempted to recover his failing health. Unable to resume the demanding travels and responsibilities of his position at the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, he moved to St. Elizabeth’s Convent in Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, the motherhouse of Katharine Drexel’s Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People.3 Craft and Stephan were now separated by little more than a hundred miles, but with the Indian sisters destroyed, the monsignor no longer had a reason to blacklist the priest. Either that or his deteriorating health had sapped his animus to pursue his long-standing feud. Stephan died that September and was buried in the convent cemetery. “May the God he served be his exceeding great reward,” was inscribed on his tombstone.4

No longer under attack from his own quarter, Craft initially considered joining the Paulist Fathers, who at the time had a somewhat rebellious reputation themselves. The Paulists had been founded by Isaac Thomas Hecker, an American-born convert to Catholicism who had entered the Redemptorist order in the mid-1840s. With a few other American-born

-154-

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Father Francis M. Craft, Missionary to the Sioux
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xv
  • I- The Formative Years 1
  • II- Path to Priesthood 6
  • III- Spotted Tail’s Quest 10
  • IV- Conspiracy on Rosebud 17
  • V- Conflicts on Standing Rock 24
  • VI- Settling in on Standing Rock 31
  • VII- Missionary Labor and Sacrifice 48
  • VIII- Humor and Whimsy 59
  • IX- The Land Boomers 67
  • X- Fort Berthold 71
  • XI- A Special Envoy 78
  • XII- Wounded Knee 87
  • XIII- Bitter Aftermath 94
  • XIV- The Origins of the Indian Sisterhood 100
  • XV- The Death of Sacred White Buffalo 107
  • XVI- Illusions of Success 114
  • XVII- A Malicious Assault 119
  • XVIII- A Strategic Retreat 127
  • XIX- Was Father Craft Insane? 137
  • XX- Homecoming 154
  • Epilogue 160
  • Notes 161
  • Bibliography 179
  • Index 185
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