Jesuit Father John Paul spent 17 years of his Jesuit life stationed among the Sioux Nation on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
“The people and the work we’ve done together at Pine Ridge are such an important part of how I have been formed as a Jesuit,” said Fr. Paul, who now serves as the Wisconsin Province’s director of formation, ongoing formation, lay formation and assistant for native ministries.
Recently, Paul returned to Pine Ridge as a facilitator for a South Dakota Native American Ministry/Cultural Immersion trip for lay people interested in learning about the cultural heritage of the Lakota Sioux, the history of their relationship with the Society of Jesus and Native American/Jesuit collaborative ministries.
He said, “It’s hard to be there and not feel an overwhelming sense of the difficulties people face. But there is also a very real voice of hope, growth and excitement in what is happening. When local people start sharing their stories, it begins creating relationships. After all, how can you not be affected by another person’s story?”
For more on Paul’s work at the Pine Ridge Reservation, read this Wisconsin Province Jesuit Spotlight.