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De Smet's Letters and Sketches, 1841-1842

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By: (1801-1873)

De Smet's Letters and Sketches, 1841-1842 offers a captivating glimpse into the life of Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet as he embarks on a missionary journey to the Rocky Mountains. Through his detailed letters and vivid sketches, the reader is able to follow De Smet's encounters with Native American tribes, the challenges he faces in establishing missions, and his deep spiritual reflections.

De Smet's writing is engaging and heartfelt, allowing the reader to fully immerse themselves in his experiences and emotions. His sketches provide a visual dimension to his words, offering a unique perspective on the landscapes and people he encounters along his journey.

Overall, De Smet's Letters and Sketches, 1841-1842 is a compelling and informative read that sheds light on the early missionary efforts in the American West. It is a must-read for those interested in history, religion, and the cultural interactions between European settlers and Native Americans.

Book Description:
In 1841 and 1842, Fr. Pierre-Jean DeSmet traversed the wide and wild American West to bring the gospel to the Flatheads, who had sent multiple delegations from Montana to St. Louis, repeatedly requesting a Blackgown priest to instruct them in Christianity. Fr. DeSmet’s letters to his Jesuit Superiors show his heroic religious dedication and selflessness, as he recounts fatigues, hunger, thirst, and dangers that rival those of the apostle St. Paul. He also makes intelligent observations of geography, geology, weather , and the interesting customs of the different tribes he meets. His generous love and respect for the Indians was rewarded by their receptivity to his gospel message, with thousands receiving baptism. In years subsequent to the writing of these letters, Fr. DeSmet continued his missionary activities in the West, and traveled an estimated 180,000 miles in his unstinting efforts on behalf of the Indians and the Catholic faith. - Summary by Carol Pelster

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