Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Cataldo Mission

The Cataldo Mission
In the early part of the 19th century, the Coeur d’Alene Indians heard that a neighboring tribe had "medicine men" with great powers and decided they wanted this power for themselves. They traveled east and invited the "Blackrobes" (or Jesuit priests) to live among their people.
In 1842, Father Pierre-Jean De Smet responded to the Coeur d'Alenes' request and traveled to present-day Lake Coeur d’Alene to meet with the tribe and select a mission site. Later that year, Father Nicholas Point and Brother Charles Huet arrived to help establish the mission. The first mission building was constructed along the St. Joe River, about 35 miles south of the present location, and was christened the Mission of St. Joseph. The river repeatedly flooded the Mission site, however. In 1846, the St. Joe location was abandoned in favor of a high, grassy knoll overlooking the Coeur d’Alene River, its present location.

The Parish House

The Parish House kitchen

The sitting room in the Parish House

The prayer room in the Parish House

Mission of the Sacred Heart

In 1850, Father Antonio Ravalli arrived and began designing the new mission building for its new location. Together, the Indians and Jesuits used large, hand-hewn logs that were cut near the site which were then latticed with saplings, woven with grass and caked with mud. This process, known as “wattle and daub,” created walls over one-foot thick and a building constructed without nails. Evidence of this technique can still be seen today. When finished three years later, the building was christened Mission of the Sacred Heart.
Both the Mission building and its decorations attempted to evoke the eloquence of European cathedrals. The interior walls were decorated with hand-painted newspapers that Father Ravalli received in the mail and cleverly recycled. Fabric purchased from the Hudson Bay Trading Post at Fort Walla Walla (Washington) also adorned the walls. Classic European chandeliers were copied, using emptied tin cans, and gilded crosses were carved from local pines. Wooden altars were carefully painted and veined to resemble marble.

Arrick checks out the alter, notice the lighting feature in the foreground! That's recycling!

Arrick is standing flat footed and playing peek a boo!

The boys peek out from the confessional

The mission bell on the grounds. While we were there it began to snow!


Pami said...

We missed this when in Couer d'Alene...guess we were more interested in the Hamburgers at Howards...did you eat there?

Kimichris said...

No, we didn't make to Howards. We didn't do a lot in Couer d'Alene, the menfolk were anxious to get to Cabela's. I wanted to go further into Idaho but again....the guys were on a mission and it wasn't the "church" mission! lol