Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes for the place we are in is HOLY. Else we may find ourselves treading on another's dream. More serious still, we may forget that GOD was there before our arrival.

Max Warren



Society of Jesus is invited by the Assiniboine and Gros Ventres tribes to set up a mission and school on the Fort Belknap Reservation.

St. Paul’s Mission Church was founded on the Milk River near today’s town of Harlem by Rev. Frederick Eberschweiler, SJ. Owing to various drawbacks of that location, Rev. Eberschweiler moved the Mission 40 miles southeast to its current location at the base of the Little Rocky Mountains.

St. Paul Mission History


The first Mass in the Little Rockies was celebrated on the first of May, 1886 by Rev. Fredrick Eberschweiler, SJ in honor of the Queen of May. Cyprian Mott, a former guide to Rev. De Smet, SJ, was the priest’s guide along with two Native Americans. The four arrived that morning at the location which became the home of St. Paul’s.

St. Paul Mission History


St. Paul’s Mission Church is officially opened on September 15, with three log buildings erected for the church, convent and school.


On the feast of the Holy Cross the school was opened by three Ursuline Sisters with about twenty-five pupils. By 1889 there were 150 pupils.

St. Paul Mission History


 A permanent stone church was completed and later embellished with the frescoes of Brother Carignano, SJ.

St. Paul Mission Church


November 16th, a fire destroyed the church and the girls boarding residence.

St. Paul Mission History


 In spite of all the difficulties the Ursuline Sisters continued teaching in the boys’ building until 1936. They were then recalled by their superior.


The current church building was completed and dedicated. The residence for students at St. Paul’s Mission was closed, yet a full day school has been conducted since.

St. Paul Mission


Arrival of Jesuit volunteers to assist in education at the school.

St. Paul Mission Church


Sparkhill Dominican Sisters arrive in 1972 to serve in operating and teaching at Mission Grade School.

St. Paul Mission History


The administration of St. Paul Mission was passed from the Jesuits to the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings. After three decades of service to the Ft. Belknap community, Fr. Joseph Retzel, SJ moved in to retirement and continues to pray for the Mission.

St. Paul Mission History

The Mission continues.

St. Paul Mission History