2008 marks the seventy third year of our Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity presence among the Gila River community at Bapchule, AZ. In December 1935 Fathers Antonine and Celestine, friars of the Santa Barbara Province of Friars Minor welcomed the first Franciscan Sisters to St. Peter Mission. Shortly after their ministry began, Father Antonine wrote to Mother Generose: “The Sisters really love the Indians.”
The Sisters’ experiences always included more than teaching at St. Peter Indian School. It was not unusual to find the first Sisters gardening, tending bee hives, raising turkeys, ducks, geese, rabbits, pigeons and goats. In 1945 a grape arbor eventually yielded about forty bushels of seedless grapes each summer. Sharing their life and talents in many ways, today’s Sisters continue to be enriched by the children and their families. Learn more about this desert place through the eyes of the seven Sisters who are blessed to be at St. Peter Mission at this time in its tender history.