This fall, St. Joseph’s was blessed with some very special guests Peter Paul and Jacinta DiCresce. Peter Paul, formerly known as Br. Bonaventure, dedicated his life to St. Joseph’s Indian School for 18 years, from 1952-1970.
In addition to his work caring for the Lakota boys in the dorm, he was an avid artist and school photographer. He took many pictures around campus and much of his work both photos and drawings was used in mailings to St. Joseph’s tiyospaye — extended family.
In addition, Peter created the design for the refurbishment of Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel, including the namesake statue, and completed much of the detail work himself. He also designed the mural in the small chapel. On the front of the current school building, his work can also be found in the mosaics as well as the statue of St. Joseph over the school entrance.
Jacinta, now Peter’s wife, was at St. Joseph’s as a Sister for five years from 1964-1969 and worked in the little girls’ dorm.
“St. Joseph’s was started by love,” said Peter. “It continues by love, and love will be what keeps it going. It’s so wonderful to see the many changes that have taken place over the years all to help the Lakota children.”
During their visit, Peter Paul and Jacinta also visited the SCJ ministries on the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Indian Reservations.
“It was wonderful to have Peter and Jacinta on campus,” said Mary Jane, St. Joseph’s Alumni Liaison. “They helped us identify many students and staff in old pictures, and shared the wisdom that can only come from stories of the past. It was truly a blessing to spend time with them.” In turn, Peter Paul and Jacinta were grateful to see the mission they know and love still going strong.
“Remember to have fun,” Peter told staffers with a wink. “When you’re enjoying what you do, everything will go a lot better.”
After leaving St. Joseph’s Indian School and marrying, Peter and Jacinta spent another 20 years in service to the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJs) at Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Walls, Mississippi.