Timeline

1888: Bishop James O? Connor, of the Omaha Diocese, dreams of a mission to serve the Winnebago people. He is the spiritual advisor of Katharine Drexel who also shares in that dream. She will go on to enter religious life, establish the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and dedicate herself to serving Native children and other people.

1890: Bishop O?Connor dies, never realizing his vision for the Winnebago people.

1891: The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament Order is founded by Katharine Drexel to serve Native and other minority people.

1907: The town of Winnebago, Nebraska, is platted; a railroad line through the reservation is completed.

1908: Bishop O?Connor?s dream is revived by a group of Winnebago and Omaha Catholic elders who ask Harry Keefe, a Walthill, Nebraska attorney, to write a letter seeking support for a school at Winnebago. The elders include Joseph LaMere and possibly Prosper Armell.

1908: Father John Griese, a German missionary, arrives at Winnebago and attempts to secure abandoned government buildings for a school but is unsuccessful. Father Griese continues serving on the reservation for next thirty-seven years.

1908: Joseph LaMere successfully negotiates with the Winnebago Town Company for 15 acres of land at the north end of community. It will be the site of a Mission and School.

1909: Mother Katharine Drexel arrives at Winnebago on March 13 for the first of three visits that year. She and her Sisters will finance and oversee planning and construction of the Mission and School.

1909: Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament arrive at Winnebago in the fall to staff the mission and school. Mother Katharine visits the homes of every Native family in the community.

1909: St. Augustine Indian Mission School welcomes its first students on November 8.

1909: St. Augustine Church and School are dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, November 25. The Mission is named for St. Augustine of Hippo at the request of Mr. Tack, a benefactor associated with the Marquette League of New York City.

1910: St. Augustine?s boarding facility opens for girls of the Winnebago and Omaha Reservations. The large wooden structure provides housing for girls during the next 40 years. Boys are enrolled as day students until a boarding facility opens for them years later.

1911: The first commencement is held on June 8. Students Grace LaMere, Marie Linkswiler and John Goergon earn the highest examination scores in Thurston County.

1911: Annual plays, involving students, parents and community members, are established as a popular part of the St. Augustine school year.

1914-1918: World War I increases demand for agricultural production on the Winnebago Reservation.

1920: Father Griese works to secure additional land for agricultural use with the goal of providing food and possibly revenue for the Mission. He plants thousands of fruit trees and field crops.

1929: The Great Depression combines with drought to begin a period of extreme hardship. Father Griese?s agricultural skills and dedication fight hunger. He is credited with literally feeding the people.

1942: Father Frank Hulsman is named Director of the Mission. Father Griese continues as Pastor and spiritual leader. Father Hulsman assumes the burden of raising funds to meet the needs of the Mission in the changing world.

1944: The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament are unable to continue to finance the School?s operation. They sell the Mission
property to the Archdiocese of Omaha and place their Sisters closer to the Order?s headquarters in the east.

1945: Father Griese dies on April 14. His body lies in state for three days and nights at St. Augustine. The epitaph, ?He fed the
people,? speaks to his legacy of love and service.

1945: Father Hulsman is named Pastor of the Mission. He leads St. Augustine into an era of growth, going nationwide with its
story.

1945: The Missionary Benedictine Sisters begin serving at the Mission where they remain today.

1946: The Notre Dame Sisters of Covington, Kentucky, arrive to help staff the Mission. They will remain until May 1954.

1955: Mother Katharine Drexel, foundress of St. AugustineIndian Mission dies on March 3.

1950s and 1960s: Under Father Hulsman, a new complex of buildings north of the original Mission site is planned, financed and opened.

1982: The boarding facility of St. Augustine Indian Mission is no longer practical to operate. The Mission focuses on the day school.

1985: Monsignor Frank Hulsman retires after 43 years of service to St. Augustine Indian Mission.

1985: Father Francis Price is named Director. Under his leadership, a kindergarten is added to the School.

1988: Mother Katharine Drexel is beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20. The foundress of St. Augustine Indian Mission is now Blessed Katharine Drexel.

1988: Father Richard Whiteing is named Director. He initiates integration of Native American cultural elements into the curriculum and liturgy with an emphasis on strengthening families and relationships within children?s lives.

1992: Father Tom Bauwens becomes the new Director and builds on Father Whiteing?s cultural work. He establishes an endowment to ensure St. Augustine?s future

1993: The Kateri Warrior Drum Group forms to teach students traditional ways of singing and dancing around the big drum. Named in honor of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, the group begins performing nationally and internationally. Members pledge to be free from drugs, alcohol and non-sacred tobacco use, and to respect their elders.

1994: The buildings on the north end of campus, which housed the boarding students, are sold to the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska which utilizes them for social services.

1997: Father Steven Boes is named Director. He and the St. Augustine Advisory Board launch a capital campaign to renovate the School. The project will create enough additional space to double the number of students the School can serve.

1998: Father Tom Gall becomes Associate Director of the Mission and oversees the School renovation. He also begins serving as Pastor of St. Joseph?s Church in Walthill and Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Macy, Nebraska.

2000: St. Augustine hosts the National Kateri Conference.

2000: Pope John Paul II canonizes Blessed Katharine Drexel, foundress of St. Augustine. She is now St. Katharine Drexel. St. Augustine representatives attend the solemn ceremony. The Kateri Warriors perform during a Mass of thanksgiving at the Church of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in Rome.

2001: Don Blackbird, Jr., a member of the Omaha Tribe, becomes the first Native American faculty member.

2003: Father Dave Korth succeeds Father Tom Gall as Associate Director of St. Augustine Indian Mission. Father Dave also becomes Pastor of three reservation parishes.

2004: Father Dave also takes over parish responsibilities for St. Cornelius Parish in Homer.

2004: Fr. Dave breaks ground and oversees the construction of a building in Macy for the Our Lady of Fatima Parish, on the Omaha Reservation.

2005: Father Steve Boes is named Director of Boys Town in Omaha. Father Dave becomes the seventh Director of St. Augustine Indian Mission, while remaining as Pastor of the four parishes.

2005: Father Pat McLaughlin joins the Mission as Associate Director and Associate Pastor. He implements programs to strengthen religious education and welcome community members back to the church.

2005: Archbishop Eldon Curtiss blesses and dedicates the Our Lady of Fatima Worship Center in Macy on October 30, the first building of its kind for the parish.

2005: St. Augustine Mission calendar wins first of several state, regional, and national awards with the photography of Fr. Don Doll, SJ and design work of Mr. Pat Osborne.

2005: The Mission installs high speed internet to go along with the donation of new IBM computers, ushering us into the 21st century.

2006: Lisa Casey becomes the first Winnebago Tribal member to join the St. Augustine School faculty.

2007: Don Blackbird, Jr., becomes the first Native American administrator of St. Augustine School.

2007: Father Mike Eckley becomes new Pastor of the four parish communities, along with being the Associate Director of the Mission. He is a highly sought after retreat director and known for his excellent preaching.

2007: Dr. Jan Stalling joins the St. Augustine staff as the first full-time school counselor.

2009: St. Augustine celebrates 100 years of service