St. Ignatius Mission, Montana

Chapel, St. Ignatius Mission, Montana, Full view

Copyright © 2011 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I had read about this mission and wanted to visit it while on my July trip to Whitefish, Mt. It’s only 1.5 hours to the east of where I was staying. When planning things to do with my friend Big Jay who wouldn’t be doing the steep hikes with me I thought this would be a great outing, and we could continue our Mission series that we’d started in Northern California. When I suggested it he was in!

The chapel is wonderful. The colors are soft and peaceful, and the Frescoes are outstanding in their workmanship, and artistry. There are 58 murals, painted in the early 20th century by artist Brother Joseph Carignano (1853-1919), and Italian Jesuit.
He was a cook, and handyman at the Mission. He had no professional training in art.
The paintings depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments, as well as some saints.

The most striking thing to me about this Mission is how different its exterior structure is from the Missions of California. This one is made of brick and mortar, and has the familiar look of a mid-sized Catholic Church , and has no inner courtyard or garden verses the Missions in California that are made of Adobe or stucco, and wood beams, and the familiar Spanish arches, and an inner courtyard with a fountain.

For the Historians:
Mission St Ignatius, St Ignatius, Montana, USA
St. Ignatius Mission is located in Mission Valley on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana, about forty miles north of Missoula. It is bounded by the Mission Mountains to the east, and the hills of the National Bison Range to the west.
The Mission and the town that grew up around it were founded in 1854 by Jesuit missionaries and named for their founder, St Ignatius Loyola.
The present day brick church was built in 1891 and is now a National Historic Site, along with two small cabins, the original homes of the Jesuit Fathers and Providence Sisters, and the present rectory. The church took 2 years to build. The Indians, and missionaries together built the church of bricks made from local clay, and trees cut in the foothills, and sawed at the Mission Mill.
The building measures 120 feet by 60 feet with a belfry reaching nearly 100 feet.
The historic information I gleaned from a little pamphlet I purchased at the Mission

Nikon D90| Nikkor 17-35 @ 17mm| f4| 1/6 second| ISO 200| Manual Mode| Tripod| Self Timer

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