Franciscan Sisters Serving at St. Peter Mission, Bapchule, AZ

by Sister Julie Ann on September 1, 2008

The seven Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity serving at St. Peter Mission School will share their lives among the Gila River community, “nestled beneath a beautiful blue desert sky, amid breath-taking sunrises and warm golden sunsets.”

This homily on the Gospel of Matthew by Saint John Chrysostom, respected Doctor of the Church, is a reflection of the Franciscan life in this desert place.

Do you want to honor Christ’s body? Then do not scorn him in his nakedness, nor honor him here in the church with silken garments while neglecting him outside where he is cold and naked. For he who said: ‘This is my body’, and made it so by his words also said: ‘You saw me hungry and did not feed me, and inasmuch as you did not do it for one of these, the least of my brothers, you did not do it for me.’ What we do here in the church requires a pure heart, not special garments; what we do outside requires great dedication.

21 thoughts on “Franciscan Sisters Serving at St. Peter Mission, Bapchule, AZ”

  1. Just viewing the podcast brought fond memories of beginning school and having a caring, loving greeting and then to church where the same loving, caring Spirit of God is present. The podcast seems a seamless garment of love and caring and welcoming Jesus in others and the Eucharist.
    Greetings to all our sisters at St. Peter’s Mission School and know your ministry is supported and lifted in prayer here in Oshkosh!

  2. So many of our Sisters who have served with the Native Peoples seem to become imbued with the faith-filled Spirit of each tribe.

    Their closeness to and harmony with nature was brought to mind in a very real way last evening. Sister Julie Ann, who spent many years serving with the Native People of the southwest, was traveling with me when a very large soaring owl flew quite close to us!

    She shared with me the spiritual significance of the owl according to the Native Peoples–a sign of one going to God in death. And our dear Sister Sheila, had died earlier that afternoon.

    It was a moving experience to again reflect upon the depth of harmony and connection we have with creation. We are blessed to share the culture and spirit of the Native Americans!

  3. Sister Carol Mathe says:

    Hello everyone! Today we celebrated Labor Day, a day we celebrate our work among the people of the Gila River Community. There is a peace and contentment among the desert plants of Bapchule, a time to enjoy the beauty of sunsets that are breath-taking and awesome. There are seven of us immersed in the culture of the people here. Keep in touch as we celebrate with you in the days to follow, each of those Sisters and their work within the Indian community.

  4. The Gila River Community reaches out in welcome to others. An experience of their Gospel hospitality can be yours if you are in the Green Bay, WI area on Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 12 noon at St. Philip Church for an Immigration Pilgrimage, A Journey of Hope. Although members of this particular Indian tribe will not be present, you will feel their presence in the sharing and companionship with others who are also interested in learning what is the Christian response to immigrants and refugees today. For more information:

  5. Sister Marie Bernadette Dorn` says:

    Three cheers for your continued work among the Southwest Indians. It is truly a rewarding work even if at times it becomes most difficult. But then so is life where ever one might be. As you, we make the best of it.

  6. Sister Marie Bernadette Dorn` says:

    Hello again to Bapchule Sisters and in particular to Sister Thereselle. It is your mother’s anniversary today. Nina’s anniversary of one year was held Saturday with Mass in Waimea and grand food at Thomasine’s home. The Sister came home and said that Sister Marie Bernadette ate and ate and ate. Now do you believe that? Truth is that I was the last one eating and the Sisters had to wait for me. It was a beautiful celebration with many of your siblings and cousins present. I missed your smile.

  7. Sister Marie Bernadette Dorn` says:

    I just simply have to make an addition to my comments of yesterday,Sister Thereselle. Your sister,Lily stopped over yesterday afternoon with a box of Godvina chocolates!!!! We shall enjoy.

  8. Sister Carol Mathe says:

    Today I would like to share with you Sister Juana Lucero. Sister is a native of the Gila River Indian Community. At St. Peter Indian Mission School she is the culture teacher of the language and culture of the Pima tribe. One of the projects that Sister Juana has undertaken is to hae a culture day once a month. Today we had a culture day which included a elder who spoketo the children about our Himdag alphabet followed by a time to go to the cemetery and pray to our ancestors and thank them for watching over us. This is followed by a “fun” time which today was listening to some authentic chicken scratch and to have the opportunity to dance. We ended the morning by having a traditional meal of fry bread, beans and salad. Our purpose here is to preserve the traditions for the children and to help them make them a part aof their life.

  9. Sister Carol Mathe says:

    Sister Martha Mary Carpenter is the principal at St. Peter Indian Mission School. Sister is also a full time teacher of the Junior High boys. Sister has been missioned here since 1988 besides having been a teacher here from 1971-1974. The Gila River Community recognizes the great work that she has done among the people and teasingly say that they should adopt her as one of the community.

  10. Sister Carol Mathe says:

    Another Sister missioned at St. Peter Indian Mission is Sister Thereselle. Sister is a native of Hawaii who has spent many of here years teaching at different Indian missions in the Arizona desert. For many years Sister was a first grade teacher and three years ago she finally graduated to teaching in the third grade.

  11. Sister Carol Mathe says:

    The librarian here at St. Peter Indian Mission is Sister Barbara Jean. Besides taking care of the library, Sister is also in charge of rummage sales here at the Mission.

  12. Sister Carol Mathe says:

    Our school office manager, Sister Linda Brandes, keeps everything clicking and going on time. Her job is one that entails meeting many parents, students, volunteers, and persons just stopping in to visit the school.
    Everything runs like clock work with her organization.

  13. Sister Carol Mathe says:

    The newest member (two years) in our community is Sister Elaine Turba. Sister has a sixth grade homeroom, but is also responsible for teaching Math to the Junior High students.

  14. Sister Carol Mathe says:

    OUr last member is Sister Carol Mathe. Sister wears a fee hats as computer teacher and being responsible for anything that plugs in! Sister also coordinates the School meal program and acts as liaison to the public school in Sacaton.

    As you have read a short blurb on each Sister you will note that we are always busy with schoolwork, but here in Bapchule we are also available to the people at all times, for we are the church to the people here since there is not a resident priest. Our lives are entwined with the culture and lives of the Akimel O’Otham people on the Gila River; and each Sister gives 100% to whatever is asked of her.

  15. Gail Albers says:

    Enjoyed watching Sister Martha Mary. I was in the convent with her for a while. (Gail Miller-Sr. Paulagene) I knew she would be a powerful instrument for God, and she is. God Bless and keep her and may her effort to fight type 2 diabetes continue to be successful. Gail

  16. Gail, thanks for taking the time to comment. May the Lord bless you as you witness to the Gospel. St. Peter Mission continues to be running ahead of the disease of diabetes! Thank God!

  17. Peaceful loving school and open space with immediate action/exercise is grand and prayer!

  18. iwashere says:

    watupp sister carol its me abrel sayiing bubbye peace 🙂

  19. Abrelmillz says:

    i love saint peter of bapchule im a student who goes there and sister mary martha is my junior high student who goes there yes its strict but hey i needed it maybe you could send your kids there for dicipline dont ever look at  a book  by its cover also thank you sister martha i hope you teach me valuble lessons this year gud night st. peters love you p.s. i also want to teach there in the future i think it'll be funn 🙂

  20. admin says:

    We love Sister Martha, too! Thanks for making a comment. Peace and all good.

  21. Romaine Delabrue says:

    Sr Martha. Please get in touch with me asap! its our 25th anniv. for Tribal school, and need to find a speaker (former student) who is successful in life, not necessarily administratively, but someone who is a success in LIFE, as usual, the same names come up, but im thinking someone who graduated from here an is a success with what they’ve accomplished, and someone who can truly say its because they attended MTS (formally St. Anthony). I need some insight from you. Thanks so much.

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