“We Shall Need Jesuits to Bring Them to Us”

Sarah A. Curtis

in Civilizing Habits

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394184
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866595 | DOI:
“We Shall Need Jesuits to Bring Them to Us”

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This chapter examines Philippine Duchesne's longstanding interest in Catholic evangelization among Native Americans. Upon arrival in Missouri, she succeeded in enrolling a few mixed‐race Indian girls in the RSCJ boarding school. Later, in cooperation with the Jesuits, she opened a separate section for full‐blooded Indian girls, an initiative that lasted only a few years. As the U.S. government's removal policy pushed Native Americans farther west, Duchesne's only option was to follow them. In 1841, she joined with the Jesuits to evangelize among the Potawatomi tribe in Sugar Creek, Kansas. This chapter argues that the seeming Catholic success with this community was due to complex factors resulting from the tribe's dislocation. Duchesne remained with the tribe for a year before returning to St. Charles due to ill health. Nonetheless, the RSCJ continued providing education to the tribe members after her departure.

Keywords: Philippine Duchesne; Native Americans; Catholic evangelization; removal policy; Potawatomi Indians; Sugar Creek

Chapter.  10988 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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