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|Life, Letters and Travels of Father Pierre-Jean de Smet, S. J., 1801-1873, Vol. 3 of 4: Missionary Labors and Adventures Among the Wild Tribes of the ... Manners, Customs, Games, Modes of Warfare a
by Pierre-Jean De Smet
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Excerpt from Life, Letters and Travels of Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, S. J., 1801-1873, Vol. 3 of 4: Missionary Labors and Adventures Among the Wild Tribes of the North American Indians, Embracing Minute Description of Their Manners, Customs, Games, Modes of Warfare and Torture, Legends, Traditions Etc
Wherever I met with any of our Mission Indians, thev overwhelmed me with marks of friendliness. The day after I had crossed the divide, I came toward evening upon one of their hunting camps. They were ignorant of my being in that country. I saw the chief sound the Angelus, and all his people prostrate themselves devoutly to recite it. This edifying Christian spectacle is repeated thrice every day in the remote wilderness. I came up in time to preside at the evening prayers of these dear children of my heart.
That same evening, to the great consolation of the In dians, and especially to mine, the Reverend Father Giorda, superior of all that mission, arrived in the camp. He was returning from California, and was then on his way from St. Ignatius to St. Peter's. Our mutual joy was great and profound. Let me add that it 15 ln the desert that such a meeting, between two brothers in Jesus Christ, can be most truly appreciated. We exchanged eagerly all our little budget of news, good and bad our hopes and our fears, for the present and the future of our dear missions and our dear neophytes.
The camp was going to buffalo, east of the Rockv Mountains. Father Giorda gave them a long instruction that evening, and the confessions lasted far into the night, in their desire to approach devoutly the holy table. On the morrow I celebrated, sub dio, the most holy sacrifice of the mass, and addressed them some consoling words concern ing religion and the joy with which this fortunate meeting inspired me. All the neophytes surrounded the humble altar, made of willows and poles, and chanted in chorus the praises of the Lord and the litanies of our August Mother the Holy Virgin. A large number piously received the holy communion.
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