Box Elder on Rocky Boy’s Reservation

Sr. Margaret Mary O'Doherty, Montana

I lived on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation with the Chippewa Cree people for 36 years. It has been such a blessing for me to learn their sacred ceremonies and share their spirituality, their deep spiritual relationship with the Great Spirit, our Creator. At the Mission School, we spent many hours together sharing our relationship with Jesus. They send their children and grandchildren to our religion classes to learn more about scripture and the “Special Man Jesus,” even though they are traditional people and not Catholic.

The reverence of the people for the sick, the needy, and those near death is inspirational. We gather for wakes in the Catholic church and pray the scripture, along with traditional Native American songs and prayers in the Cree language. This brings unity and love in the whole community. When there is a funeral Mass for the Native Americans who are Catholic, the traditional community members always join in the prayer. I am extremely grateful for all the years living with the Native American culture, especially the Rocky Boy people. They certainly have problems like the rest of us, but working with the school’s drug prevention program and the Chemical Dependence Center helped me to appreciate the Native American people’s struggles resulting from institutional abuse. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of these years.

– Sister Margaret Mary O’Doherty, OP

Sister Margaret Mary O’Doherty

Sister Margaret Mary O’Doherty was spotlighted in Catholic Extension Magazine for her work with children from broken families on the Chippewa-Cree Native American reservation in Box Elder, Montana. Read how Sr. Margaret has been a smiling angel to these children and families – the full story here.

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