Las Casas News - July 97
Las Casas News Feb '97
Las Casas Fund & Board.
Index of Past Issues.

Number 27 July 1997:


It is July, and the "Winds are Sweeping Down the Plains.- Since our last newsletter, which was the first for us from Canton, Oklahoma. Sister JoAnn and Sister Mary Ann have continued the ministry which was begun twenty years ago in 1977. We celebrate the memory of Joseph A. Broderick, Regis Ryan, and Betty Jean Goebel. As we share in the communion of saints, we hold them to their promise that like St. Dominic: "I will do more for you where I am going, than I did when I was among you." We know that these good people along with so many others who have gone on before us are with us daily in our ministry among the Cheyenne and Arapaho.

We continue to pray that the individual who is called to join us in our ministry will respond to the invitation. We moved to a three-bedroomhouse on May 7. The Hospitality House at 524West Pine is being utilized as office space for the ministry as well as for adult basic education, introduction, computer classes and the storehouse for food from the Oklahoma City Food Bank. White Earth I continues to be used for the Senior Citizen Nutrition Center as well as for Indian artisans to come and make their traditional artwork. White Earth II was joyfully and formally opened on May 1, 1997. It continues to be used for youth activities and AA meetings. A sweat lodge was made on the grounds of White Earth II by three of the Indian men who taught the young Indians how to construct the lodge and how to pray in it. The lodge stands as a reminder that it is available for any individuals who are in need of praying in their traditional way. We have encouraged the individuals who attend the AA meetings to use the lodge.

One of the beacons of hope this past year has been the celebration of Sister JoAnn's 50th Anniversary as a Dominican Sister of Adrian, Michigan. The celebration began on the actual date of Sister's entrance, Februaly 2, 1947. The parishioners at St. Ann's Parish in Fairview, Oklahoma, celebrated with a Mass and covered dish supper at their new hall. Sister Janice Bachman of Columbus, Ohio, who is also a member of the Las Casas Board of Directors, was in Canton for the month. She and Sister Mary Ann received the renewal of SisterJoAnn's vows at Mass. The celebration continues even to this day! Congratulations, Sister JoAnn, for 50 faith-filled years of commitment!

Emerson once wrote: "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children: ... to find the best in others: to leave the world a bit better - whether by a healthy child, or ..." Hopefully, because of the NOFAS (No Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) grant that is in place, the Cheyenne and Arapaho children are born more healthy. The Indian outreach workers visit the expectant mothers at their home and at the WIC centers. Two days, "Mom's Days", have been held for those who are expecting or who have given birth within the past year.

Work in the other on-going grants continues as well as the daily activities. We are grateful for those who have given so much over the past twenty years. Returning to Emerson's writing: "Toknow even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. To all of you who have helped one person to breathe easier, we thank you and ask God to continue to bless you, because you have succeeded.

Mary Ann Cirillo, OP
JoAnn Fleischater, OP
Canton On-Site Team


What wonderful celebrations. all! A Jubilee year filled with blessings and great friends and family is being lived fully. I want to bless all for their prayers and remembrances, especially the Las Casas Board for the beautiful Oklahoma Red Bud tree that has been planted in honor of fifty years. A special note of gratitude for the loving presence of Mary Ann Cirillo OP here in Canton where we share life. ministry and community among the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.

Sister JoAnn



A Personal Reflection
In Memoriam
Joseph A. Broderick

I first met Al Broderick six years ago when he and I became Trustees of the Las Casas Board. As the Board shared personal stories and histories. I was duly impressed by the giftedness of all gathered. especially Al. During the next six years, and since his death. I've come to appreciate even more, how truly special a man he was.

On Saturday, May 17, I had a message from Joan Monica McGuire OP, President of the Board of Trustees. Al Broderick's wife, Tappy, had informed her that Al was seriously ill with cancer, and wanted the other Board members to pray for Al in a special way. Two days later I received the call that Al had died at home.

My sadness at his death was tempered by the realization that as a result of knowing, working, praying, and socializing with Al Broderick, I have been truly blessed. Indeed, Al was one of God's special blessings -- a person whose life was a shining example of using the gifts and abilities he received from God, not only for himself. but even more. for others.

Al's brilliant intellect was obvious to anyone who spent any amount of time with him. His academic credentials are most impressive: Bachelor's Degree from Princeton (Magna Cum Laude), Law Degree from Harvard, and doctorates from both Harvard and Oxford.

In addition to his scholarly achievements, Al was a man of justice and service. He used his gifts for the common good. Following his graduation from law school, Al served his country during World War II as a Naval officer: as the skipper of PTs and LSTs in the Pacific including the Okinawa invasion, and after the war using his legal talents as International Law Officer in the Judge Advocates' office in Washington. When he left the Navy in 1946, Al had achieved the rank of Lt. Commander.

While practicing law in New York for the firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, Al worked with Allen Dulles in representing the Netherlands in a lawsuit concerning bonds looted by the Nazis from Jewish citizens.

A call to a different type of service led A1 to the Dominican Order in 1952. After his ordination in 1959, he spent the next twenty-one years ministering as a priest and teacher. It was during this time that Al had a chance meeting with a diocesan priest from Oklahoma, Father Joseph Burger. Fr. Burger was taking a class in Washington, where A1 was teaching, and they met in the dining hall. During their conversations Fr. Burger described the need for legal aid help for the Cheyenne and Arapaho people of Northwest Oklahoma. From that chance meeting the seeds for a special ministry were planted. Al, along with other Dominicans like Regis Ryan OP, founded Las Casas in 1977.

Most recently A1 had been a teacher at the North Carolina Central Law School in Durham NC. He left teaching in 1988, yet continued to use his knowledge of the law to be of service to those in need. He provided and organized pro bono (for the good) legal counsel for individuals seeking asylum from Central America, South America, and Haiti. Even during his last days. Al continued working on legal and Las Casas matters. This continued dedication amidst suffering did not surprise me.

Although we will surely miss Al's presence in our lives, I feel very strongly that by having had him in our lives, in whatever way, we have been blessed. For that and for Al, I thank God.

The words of the refrain from a song by David Haas sum up for me just what kind of person Joseph Albert Broderick was -- one who answered the call to ministry in many ways during his nearly eighty years.

"We are called to act with justice,
we are called to love tenderly,
we are called to serve one another,
to walk humbly with God."

Anna-Marie Byrne OPL
Las Casas Trustee, 1991-1997

[Editor's note: Special thanks to Tappy Broderick for her contribution of biographical information and photo.]

Gifts in memory of Al Broderick maybe made in his name to Hospice of Chatham County, Inc. P.O. Box 1077, Pittsboro NC 27312, or Las Casas Dominican Ministry, 524 W Pine Ave., Canton OK 73724.

By R.B. Williams OP, Trustee

In the last issue of the LAS CASAS NEWS, I wrote a brief history of the birth of LAS CASAS. Since that time, one of the principal figures in that history, Albert Broderick, has died. His role was pivotal and he was a constant reminder to and stimulator of the Board and the on-site ministers in regard to the ideals and purposes of LAS CASAS. He will be missed very much by all of us associated with LAS CASAS.

The title of the last article was IN THE BEGINNING.... I've been asked to write a sequel. And I've decided to call it WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Right away I have to warn the reader that I don't have the space and time to be detailed and complete. This is unfair to some wonderful and dedicated people, but I think the sampler will be adequate to represent the incredible energy and accomplishments of LAS CASAS.

Two projects stand out from those first days and continue to serve as monuments to the impact of LAS CASAS although they stand on their own: LEAPCAT and WCOSC (WEST CENTRAL OKLAHOMA SPONSORING COMMITTEE and allied programs.) The first of these programs was a legal assistance project. Carol Crimi OP of the Akron Dominicans served this program with zeal and received a Human Rights Award for her efforts. The second was begun through the organizing efforts of Mary Jordan Langenhenning OP of the St. Mary s Dominicans of New Orleans. This program enabled Native Americans to unite their resources to obtain decent streets and housing, and to vindicate other fundamental needs and rights. Sister Jordan also won a Human Rights Award for her efforts. In both projects, dedicated local boards played important roles.

In addition to sponsoring the above projects, LAS CASAS provided funds and opportunities for many Dominican women and men. A look at the 1982 Team roster is indicative:

Betty Jean Goebel OP (Great Bend),
Title IV-A tutor, GED teacher, EMT instructor
Imelda Schmidt OP (Great Bend),
AlcoholicCounselor, Public Health Nursing Asst.
Carol Crlmi OP (Akron),
Attorney for Leapcat
Marie Flaherty OP (Amityville),
Title IV-A tutor, GED teacher
Mary Jordan Langenhenning OP (St.Mary's, New Orleans)
WCOSC Director
Rosemary Corr OP (Amityville)
Title IV-A tutor
Annette Roach and Claire Sinotte OP (FallRiver - now Sisters of Hope)
St. Michael's in Arizona (Navaho)
During the summers, other Dominicans, including students and novices, often came for varying lengths of time to assist in the ministries and summer programs.

Verona Weidig OP (Kentucky), Claire Gaynor OP (Cabra, Ireland), Kathy Goetz OP and Celine Benoit OP (Great Bend), and Helen Bueche OP (Grand Rapids) joined the LAS CASAS team for various periods and worked in tutoring, adult education and community organizing.

In the last few years, Mary Ann Cirillo OP (Hope) and JoAnn Fleischaker OP (Adrian) have been the on-site resource persons. Their efforts have focused on the White Earth Center in Canton, OK. This building serves as a nutritional resource center, meeting hall, a place for tutoring and adult education, and a center for traditional Native American artwork. MaryAnn and JoAnn continue to serve in a ministry of presence and resource to the Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples in Northwest Oklahoma.

Because of expanding needs, a search for a third Dominican to come and share the ministry has been in progress since last fall. Last but not least, two groups of people must be mentioned because they are also important to the LAS CASAS ministry: the Native American men and women who have supported and encouraged LAS CASAS, and the Board of Trustees. In the first group, a few names such as Floyd Black Bear, Bernice Redshin, Herschel Kaulaity stand out, but there are many others whose presence and advice have been essential to this very challenging ministry.

The Board of Trustees has continued over the years to attract dedicated Dominican men and women from the provinces and congregations. To mention all of them would take too much space! All have other full time ministry from which each must take time to attend two board meetings a year, in addition to occasional committee work and efforts topromote LAS CASAS and its ministry among the Dominican Family. Recently the Board celebrated a historic event -- welcoming its first Native American member, Quentin Roman Nose.

R. B. Williams, OP
San Antonio, Texas


I continually get messages about how much more we need to be in tune with the underlying stream of oneness throughout the Earth as original peoples, animals, plants, and even non-living things are. (Is there really anything non "living when all things are alive with God permeating their being?) This experience of the robin and the four directions really happened if only in the way I saw whatever it was that was really happening.

The sleepy Robin
all tousled from restless sleep
in a storm-tattered nest,
flew down before my window
for what I learned was to be
a morning ritual.

Looking East.
Robin took a deep drink of rising Sun,
and shook disheveled feathers.
Held the feeling for a second.
and faced the South.

Robin stretched his legs one at a time,
preened his feathers,
soaked more Sun.
Held the feeling for a second,
and faced the West.

Robin opened matted eyes,
safely squinted,
straightened more feathers.
Took a deep breath and held it for a second,
and faced the North.

Robin looked me squarely in the eye
through the window where I gazed
in total disappointment at my unbelief
that, on rising, robins, too,
pray the four directions.

A bit more feather fluffing,
stretching, and opening wide his wings,
and he completed his rite of rising.
Off he flew,
away from my probing gaze
to begin a robin's day.

Elaine Osborne OP, Trustee


A Mazzuchelli Heritage Tour, scheduled for June 23-29, 1997. began with the Mazzuchelli Exhibit at the Sinsinawa Dominican Motherhouse, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. The tour included a visit to Green Bay (home of the Super Bowl Champs, the Green Bay Packers) and a visit to the Menominee Indian Reservation in Keshena, Wisconsin.

Mary Montgomery OP, tour leader said that "the Menominee Tribe in particular and Native Americans in general were very dear to Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli OP. He was very much ahead of his time in his ministry to the Native Americans."

Father Mazzuchelli (1806-1864) was a man who followed his heart. He was passionate, courageous, and determined to spread the Word of God. His dedication to mission led him across the globe from his native Italy to the wilderness of the Michigan territory in the early 1800s. Determined to establish the Catholic Church in America, his first "parish" was a 200,000 square mile area of wilderness in what is today Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. For five years (1830-1835) he worked extensively with the Menominee and Winnebago tribes.

The museum-type exhibit at Sinsinawa Mound displays artifacts from his life including copies of the Winnebago prayer book and liturgical calendar Father Mazzuchelli had printed in their native language. Also displayed are his letters to Andrew Jackson and General George Wallace Jones in which he called for education for the tribes which would respect their language and family structure.

The five years of missionary work among Native Americans began with a visit to the Green Bay area in the fall of 1830. In June, 1831, Mazzuchelli was back in Green Bay where he designed and helped build the first Catholic Church in Wisconsin. Pleased with the numerous converts to Catholicism among the Menominees, Mazzuchelli also built a school for the Menominees in the Green Bay area. Unlike other mission schools that taught in English, Mazzuchelli used the Menominee language in the interests of preserving the culture.

The Mazzuchelli Heritage Tour included a visit to Green Bay and to the present Menominee Indian Reservation. The tour group gathered at St. Michael Parish, Keshena, Wisconsin, where Menominee Heritage (their spirituality, traditions, values, and lore) presented by Dave Grignon, director of Menominee Tribal Historic Preservation. A representative from the newly established College of Menominee Nation overviewed education on the Reservation, from the boarding school established in 1880 to the newCollege. After a brief tour of the Reservation and refreshments, the Menominee segment of the Mazzuchelli Heritage Tour concluded with Native American prayer led by a Menominee elder.

The Mazzuchelli Heritage Tour helped individuals to see the reality behind Mazzuchelli's own words, "Let us ...set out for any place where the work is great and difficult." Until his death in 1864, Father Samuel Mazzuchelli OP worked tirelessly to build the Catholic Church reaching people in the wilderness, establishing church communities, constructing churches and schools, and training others to teach in the schools he founded.

Kathleen Walli OP
Pastoral Associate
St. Michael Parish
Keshena, Wisconsin


A part of the Mission statement of the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, New York, reads: "We ... proclaim the kingdom of God through a ministry for justice wherein we focus on enablement of the poor, of the powerless, of the oppressed, and of the spiritually deprived people of our time."

These words are a source of encouragement and direction for ministry here on the Fort Peck Sioux and Assiniboine Reservation in northeastern Montana.

Almost 5,000 Native Americans call this prairie land home. It is an area of rolling hills, deep coulees, fierce winters and powwow-filled summers. Some may call Fort Peck isolated (our nearest "big city" is Regina, Canada -- about 240 miles north) but we boast a good Tribal Council. Tribal Community College, Hospital and Nursing Home and even an award winning newspaper, THE WOTANIN WOWAPI.

Fort Peck, the second largest of the seven Montana Reservations, is approximately 110 miles from east to west and forty miles from north to south. All six of the tribal communities lie along the Missouri River, the Reservation's southern border.

At one time there were eight sisters from various religious communities and three priests ministering in the two parishes and three missions. Presently, there are two priests and one Sparkill Dominican Sister.

Many of the elders still speak their native languages and these languages are now being taught in the Reservation schools. Naming ceremonies, give-aways, feasts, mourning ceremonies, the drum, the sundance, sweat lodges have been preserved and are being passed down to the younger generations.

The people struggle with unemployment which is 58% overall on the Reservation but is as much as 78% in some of the communities.

Ministry covers the spectrum from adulte ducation, baptism preparation and grief ministry, to every manner of outreach whenever and wherever needed.

Ministry here is rewarding not because results are visible, but because one feels accepted as walking the walk away from poverty and injustice and toward a better future. It is rewarding, too, because our Sparkill Dominican spirit which is " of Joy, realized here among the Sioux and Assiniboine people.

Mary Hourigan OP

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ ...

My name is Joseph Andrade. I am an inmate doing a life sentence at M.C.I., Norfolk, MA. Before coming to prison five years ago. I used to sponsor two children overseas through Children's Christian Fund. I wish to start this again in memory of my beautiful and beloved wife, Marla. This time, I would like the children to be from America. I asked the two wonderful Sisters here from our Norfolk Community at Bethany Church how to go about doing this and they suggested the Las Casas Dominican Ministry, Canton, OK. So on July 12, (my son's birthday), I'll be sending my first check. May our dear Lord, God bless you and all of your loved ones.
Very truly yours,
Joseph Andrade

God bless you, Joseph! The two childrenwe have chosen for Joseph to sponsor will be two babies of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. We have chosen one boy and one girl born April 1, 1997 and December 25, 1996. We encourage our other readers to sponsor an Indian child.

Our children are in need. Please consisder helping to make their lives better. Thank you!


Las Casas Ministry has a two-for-one opportunity for you! One contribution to Las Casas has two welcomed results: it supports the ministry among the Cheyenne and Arapaho people and it pays tribute to persons near and dear to you.

You may give a donation to Las Casas as a memorial, a get-well wish, or as a gift in honor of birthdays, holidays, weddings, and other special occasions.

If you would like to have this tax deductible gift acknowledged, include the name and complete address of the person to be notifled. The amount of the gift will be kept confidential.

Come to think of it, our benefactors get much more than two-for-one. Each of you receives our prayers and gratitude as well.

for Cheyenne and Arapahos

takes its name from a 16th century Dominican missionary, Bartholomeo de Las Casas, who worked among the native people of Central and North America. The Las Casas Fund Corporation is organized exclusively for service to the poor, distressed and underprivileged, primarily the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians of northwest Oklahoma and secondarily, Native Amencans and poor persons in other parts of the United States.

A national Collaborative Dominican Ministry

Las Casas
Dominican Ministry Among the Cheyenne and Arapaho

524 West Pine
Canton, Oklahoma 73724-9703

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