Friday, October 18, 2013

St. Michael's Mission Tour - Part 2

We completed our tour of St. Michael's Mission with Cathy today.  The mission was founded by Katharine Mary Drexel in 1896 and operated by the Franciscans on the Navajo Reservation. 

This original adobe mission and its historic interior have been preserved as a museum, interpreting missionary life and reservation life at the turn of the century.  It is only a sub-divided stone building but it offers the best insight into the Navajo culture of the early 20th century.  This mission of the Franciscan Friars had great influence on the Navajo people and their religious and school teachings.

Original Mission and Now Museum

Information Sign

This altar is an example of early church altars everywhere.

This building was separated into four compartments which served as bedrooms and workrooms for the early Friars.  This is a replica of a Friars room as described by a sister of the Blessed Sacrament.  Each room had a bed, a table, paper, two or three pair of trousers hanging on the door, an overcoat, a hat or two, a chair, a number of cigar boxes cut in half to hold letters, and it was lighted by windows about 3'x 4'.  

The Crucifix Rug
The Dine (Navajo) are famous for their weavings.  Spider Woman brought weaving to the people and their textiles have always been sought after.  This weaving of the Crucifix was made for the Francicans at St. Michael's.  It is said to have been woven by Asza' Yazhe, wife of Henry Chee Dodge who was a Navajo leader and in 1923 became the Navajo Tribal Council's first Chairman.

Zuni Jar with Frog Effigies and Baskets

View of the Mission Church from the Museum
The Convent
Our next stop on the tour was the Convent which had been the home of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament until last year.  You can see where there was an addition to the building at some point.  The highlight of this part of the tour were the beautiful stained glass windows in the Chapel of the Convent.

The rooms now look deserted but are used for various meetings.

Beautiful doors throughout

Prayer Chapel
This prayer chapel was built for the 500th Anniversary of the Native American and European relationships which was commemorated in 1992. 

The prayer chapel is built as a circular prayer Hogan with a dirt floor so that it would lend itself well to prayer meetings and healing services in the Navajo tradition.

Redemption of Humankind Wood Carving
German artist Ludwig Schumacher donated a 16' woodcarving sculptured from a single 500 year old juniper tree.  He intended this to be an American Pieta and named it Redemption of Humankind.

Seating around the Hogan Chapel

Back of the Redemption of Humankind Carving

The Entrance to the Rectory

Swimming Pool
Our next stop was the Swimming Pool/Green House.  The pool is still used but there is a hot tub which isn't used anymore.  The place is full of plants that one of the brothers uses to raise plants, flowers and vegetables.  Cathy gave us a few of his tomatoes and if she can figure out what they are, I want to plant them in Texas.  They were absolutely the best tomatoes we've ever had.  Lee even ate them and he doesn't normally eat tomatoes!

Well, our tour is over and so was our time here so we had to say goodbye to Cathy.  Hopefully, our separation won't be as long as last time. 

Mary managed to take a picture of the full moon illuminating the New Mexico countryside as we were driving home.  This wasn't easy as we were bumping around in our truck!!

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