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Full Text Publications > Sketches from North America

Descriptions of nature, and religious, political and social life
In letters of a Catholic Missionary

Augsburg 1845
Printed and Published by the D. Schmid Bookstore


Every day the relationships between the old world and the new world are getting closer and more manifold. Thousands of our German brothers leave their native country annually because it is too cramped for either their needs or their desires and seek a new hearth for themselves across the ocean. So how should every voice of a German compatriot from the far west not be welcome? How should we in the old world not reach out eagerly for every note, which can help us create a vivid picture from the country that so many of our countrymen live in, and learn about their fate?

The following letters also have the exceptional feature, that they come from a Catholic missionary. The Catholic has a different way of looking at things than someone not in the church. He has a spiritual eye, which brings all things into the right focus, and for that reason he judges with a certainty, which seems more or less presumptuous and arrogant to everybody not so skilled. We refer in this respect to the very appealing descriptions of the camp meetings of the Methodists.

The author generally sketches nature and men with particular liveliness and reality. We enjoy following him on his journeys by land and by water, and while looking at the beauties of nature, we willingly let our thoughts be guided to higher spheres by an occasional observation, which does not come unexpectedly, but flows out of the total view of things.

But the criticism we want to leave to someone else. In conclusion may we be allowed to express one wish: All readers of these sketches should feel encouraged to support the missions with alms, so that the Catholic faith, such a necessary element for consolidation, can strengthen and spread more and more in the new world where freedom has gained prestige in such an independent way. For work in that vineyard is available in abundance, but there are not many workers.

-- The Publisher

St. Mary of the Lake

1. The Missionary Lodging

I am writing these lines to you in a log cabin on the elevated bank of a small, quiet lake in northern Indiana, on the southwestern border of Michigan, close to the St. Joseph River, to prove to you that even in the far west of North America I am thinking of you and still have not given up the evil habit of transforming you through my senseless scribblings from a doctor to a patient.

A small, quiet lake, which like a magic mirror throws back to the observer the vault of heaven above it and the friendly environment around it, has always been, as you know, a page in the big picture book of nature to me, over which I loved to linger with silent joy. Because, as I dreamed, just as this water without great movements reflects, in the course of time, magically and in the same beatific manner the various changes of the clouds above its surface and the manifold coloration of its banks, in the same way a pious and devout soul not only absorbs in the mind, often unconsciously, the joys and pleasures of this life (the star-covered sky in its splendor) and shares the inner blissfulness of its closest surroundings, but also knows how to bear sufferings and repulsiveness (the murky, rainy sky) with equanimity. And when it sees the hopes and the friends fade like leaves of a tree on the banks of the lake, the roaring of autumnal fate cannot upset it excessively, because it will wait calmly for the coming green, earthly or heavenly, Spring full of leaves.

Such a lake, which preaches constantly the devoutness of a pious mind, is the one whose geographical location I just indicated to you, and on whose banks some noble friends built a log cabin several years ago, in which I now dwell. The surroundings nearby remind me involuntarily of the regions where we had such a delightful vacation after we had finished our studies at the University of P., -- I am thinking of the Austrian Salzkammergut.

In front of me the lovely scene of Gmundener Lake by moonlight, with its magnificent enclosure, behind me the cheerful crackle of a merry open fire in the Hallstädter taproom at the "Haystack", next to me the bell-ringing cows in the Gasteiner alpine pasture suddenly transport me to my far-away old home.

But the dream has to give way to reality. The lake in front of me is situated in the cold even in the greatest heat, in mind-freezing North America; the fire behind me has been raked by a semi-savage Canadian, and the bell-ringing comes from the necks of horses belonging to a group of Indians of the Potawatomi tribe who have put up their temporary camp at the lake; the log cabin itself in which I am throwing together this letter to you is the mission house of St. Mary of the Lake (Ste.-Marie-du-Lac).

So that you can get an idea of an American mission house, I will let you see first the lodging of the missionary. It is a simple room in which you will look in vain for mural paintings or wallpaper, stucco work and frescos. The four walls of the room consist of roughly cut logs; one wall is formed by a enormous fireplace. The two windows, which face each other, have no mechanism to allow them to open, but accidents have provided openings in the glass through which the air can come in and out. The curtains -- even the most wretched hut in North America, such as the one of the missionary, has to have "Curtains" -- do look shabby, but the bed and its covers and curtains are even shabbier; yet they look pretty cheerful in this poverty. There is a canopy, like the kind of wooden four-poster covers our grandparents used to have, to keep outbreaks of the elements of earth and water away from the sleeping apostle of the Indians, because the boards of the roof are not joined together closely enough to have sufficient security against the weather.

In order to keep the missionary from losing his courage in this American forest abbey, the poor cabin is adorned inside with the sign of triumph of the One Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, who didn't even have a place where He could rest his head.

If you were standing next to me in person, you would already have cast your eyes on the surprising abundance of books, which you surely wouldn't expect to find with a "Blackrobe" in such a wasteland among the Indians.

Not only Missals and books of Psalms, Bibles in several languages and church fathers, but also the old spiritual heroes from Athens and Rome, as well as the new ones from England and France -- not only put up here, but also, as you could convince yourself by a closer leaf through, frequently used. You can't expect German books here, because the former occupants of this cabin emerged from French schools at a time when even in Germany the German language was neglected and despised.

2. The House Chapel

Go up with me now to the upper part of the mission house. The stairs are not very comfortable, -- the way to heaven is onerous. So -- one more wooden step and you are in the chapel.

The garret has been changed into a very friendly oratory, where at present the divine service is celebrated also, because the old chapel on the ground couldn't escape the frailty of old age and its repair has been postponed for lack of means.

Now look around the temporary chapel until I have changed for the divine service, because the regular priest of this house, a Frenchman born in Canada, is traveling and asked me to celebrate in his place.

There on that side of the attic chapel where the altar table is set up for the offering, the wall is covered tastefully with freshly washed linen, on which fresh green cedar twigs from the trees of the primeval forest at the lake have been arranged ingeniously; through the striking white of the linen it distinguishes itself as the almost sublime work of an artistic weaver.

The Madonna picture, engraved copperplate, simple but good, and very big, symbolizes the humility of the mother of our redeemer, and looks down, fair and lovely, from the linen-forest wall covering, and makes you feel quite religious. A wooden cross is standing on the simple altar, which faith in the Crucified brought over the wide ocean, between two simple candlesticks which have been sent over by good-hearted people from Europe. The flowers of the nearby prairie in the not very graceful pots between the candlesticks go well with the whole scene.

If you have looked at the religious part of the chapel, turn around and see how the sturdy children of nature from the north of America, natives of the Pottowatomi nation, sit on their tree stumps and silently wait until the divine service starts.

It is a miracle how these rough seats could have been brought up the frail stairs, an even bigger one is how the thin wood floor can support these wood blocks with Indians sitting on them.

Admire the sturdy physique of these "Savages" with their long, jet-black hair, protruding cheek bones on upward-tapering oval skulls, and deep, dark, expressive eyes, which you can come across in Europe only in very soulful people.

Some among these Indians have piercing, frightening facial features, which would frighten at first sight, if we weren't convinced that these people have already accepted Christianity, have thrown away their axe and scalping knife,* and use bow and arrow only for hunting game to make their living. {* With the scalping knife the Indians cut their defeated enemies or other victims a little bit over the eyes around the head and then tear the scalp like a night cap down along the incision. Scalping happens in no time. With scalp locks, the uppermost part of the stripped off scalp, which indicate how often an Indian has become a brute to his fellow being, the savages calculate their bravery and determine their reputation within the tribe. They normally wear the scalp locks as a decoration on their chest.}

You see how many of the children of the forest present have in their hands prayer books printed in their language, with which they constantly follow the priest in his ceremony at the altar, as their faces light up with inspiring faith in the Savior of the world. Don't miss how I, the poor servant, am honored and loved by them because of the great Master, and asked for frequent blessings. How does the expression NOSE (Father) sound, with which they address their priest? It is so indescribably winning! They, formerly animal-like, live now in the greatest modesty with the scantiest clothes on their body and a woolen blanket as their outer garment, happier and more content than most of the rich in the most progressive cities in Europe, who try to think about the work of faith with the rational intellect.

Those men have to be praised very highly, who have struggled with the greatest troubles in this house I have introduced to you, to carry out their plans to cultivate these wild people.

Mr. De Seilles, the son of very highly regarded parents in Belgium, is resting from all his struggles and sufferings in the old chapel grounds near this mission house. In the house where he so often broke the bread of eternal life for the Potawatomis, and fed them with the food of the angels, nobody was present at his death who could have provided the last rites to him. Before he passed away he crawled with the greatest effort to the altar in the small chapel and refreshed his soul for the last time with the consecrated bread.

Petit, formerly the famous lawyer and popular speaker at Rennes (Ille- et-Bilaine) in France, after half a year of his presence in the same house, preached in the language of the Potawatomis; and then, as a victim of the purest humanity, on an onerous trip which he made with the savages across the Mississippi to St. Louis, a city on that river, he was physically defeated, only to celebrate his resurrection in the hereafter all the more victoriously.

But now it is time that I say Holy Mass; the Indians are waiting for it. They came here from a great distance to celebrate the requiem for their missionary (Petit), who accompanied their tribesmen in their exile and died on the way, in the same spot where he first announced the Word of Salvation to them. Now I ask you, as soon as I am dressed for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to behave yourself properly; don't look around, and be devout. And if you hear a rising, loud murmur during the main part of the Sacrifice, do not fear.

This is not a discussion in which they decide the death of a European who fell in their hands, but an outpouring of faith in the holy mystery of the religion that penetrates them, to which they are now so loyally devoted that they, since baptism, have stood clear of any grave offense against godly and generally applicable human laws.

3. An Indian Baptism

Near the mission house, whose interior I have briefly described for you already, a little hill rises, in the shape of a mountain ridge, which extends in a straight line for several hundred steps, and faces with its precipitous side the lake with which I made you acquainted in the first chapter of this letter.

On this ridge now you see several tents made from rush mats, pitched in the simplest way. In front of them you still see the smoking ashes of their fires, on which the "redskins" prepared their meals in the gypsy way. The men, having said their prayers in the chapel of the wilderness, now stroll around in the temporary camp altogether carefree and unconcerned about the activities of the neighborhood, and puff away on their pipes with wonderful manners. The squaws, the born Cinderellas in the family life of the natives in America, are industrious and active in their traveling household, and clean and tidy up the pieces of their household possessions, which are easily counted. The little savages, for want of a bathtub, get their morning refreshments in the lake, while the older boys are following the horses in puris naturalibus, which, hobbled at the bottom of their front legs, can only hop like frogs, but while doing so take their fill of lush prairie grass in the broad meadow on the banks of the lake. Walk now with me up the hill, where I will baptize an Indian born this morning. I will celebrate the baptism in front of the tent where the mother of the child is. She came yesterday riding à la Turc with the Indian train and is lying now fresh and healthy under the rush roof. She is wrapped tightly into a woolen blanket and of her body only the head with its long black hair and glowing eyes is visible. Her whole situation brings instinctively back to my mind the Egyptian mummies I have seen, even more so since her glance is focused on me without movement. In the tent everything is unusually clean, though nothing remains so that you, as a doctor, will be reminded of the delivery that took place here only a few hours ago. A plain mat has been spread out for me in front of the tent; the beautiful blue sky is arching above me like a dome made from lapis lazuli; the clear surface of the lake reflects the cheerful splendor of the sky; the manifold greens of the nearby bushes, like the fine cedar, tulip, and oak trees of the forest on the opposite side, decorate the lake, which now is viewed as the font; and the grass slope with its decoration of far-western flowers, which stretches all the way to the lake, serves as the carpet of the imposing house-chapel in God's wonderful temple of nature. To a small tree next to me in front of the Indian mother's tent I am fastening a Crucifix, sign of eternal salvation and highest "humanity", which I used to carry with me on my trips. So the little tree at St. Mary of the Lake becomes a beautiful symbol of the tree of deliverance and reconciliation, which would solemnly enable the son of the wilderness to participate in it through baptism. The baptismal water is ready; the white* child of the redskin rests on the arms of its godfather; {* After their birth the children of the red (copper colored) Indian, like those of a black Negro, look white for a while. They receive the skin color of their parents later.} a group of Indian faces surrounds me, wildly painted but calm in their expressions calm; a Canadian person who understands the Potawatomi language is at my side; the baptism is carried out; the savages are praying in their language the prayer of the Lord, the apostolic confession of faith; and the child is named Anton. St. Anton is your patron saint and that of several other friends, to whom, as to my loved ones at home, I want to declare in this way my constant remembrance. The child's father's name is "Little Crane"; I will always remember his heartfelt thanks for the admittance of his son into the great association of salvation.

South Bend

The St. Joseph River has its source southeast of Lake Michigan, then runs in a winding course through the northern part of the State of Indiana, where it suddenly bends and, running from south to north, pours into the aforementioned lake. There in the south, before it turns suddenly to the north, running out of the State of Indiana and running back in, it forms parallel waterlines, which on a peninsula within the connecting bow enclose the village of South Bend (south bow). The little town, like most of the larger settlements in western America, looks very new and youthful, but despite its great distance from the Atlantic harbor-towns has several stores, in which all luxury articles are available, to keep up in the western wilderness with the customs and habits of the rich New Yorker. The inhabitants of South Bend are for the most part Anglo-Americans, who for the most part profess Methodism or sentimental religion. Only a few families of my faith are living there, and I had a hard time finding them. Fairly well known, however, is the family of Coquillard, a French Canadian, who has a magnificent house with an extended estate in the northern part of South Bend. He was a trader among the savages and became so rich doing this that he could build a palace-like residence in a marvelous area and buy a large adjacent stretch of land. I stopped off at this house without reservations, was met with a friendly reception, and was treated during my stay with the utmost attention. (A pleasant reflection of the golden times of our holy religion, where Christians were always welcomed by their fellow believers).

Such a comfortable and splendid estate as the one of Mr. Coquillard is only bought by a few traders. Many of them grow so fond of their wandering in the primeval forests among the Indians that they don't like the stable and domestic life anymore, even if they amass a great fortune. Used to the hardships and dangers of life, the quiet and secure mastery of things appears to them to be too dull to sustain. For that reason, when soul and body have always been at work, the lasting calm of standing still makes both sick.

Mister Coquillard introduced me to one such restless trader. He speaks Canadian French and a little English and understands the languages of several Indian tribes, particularly that of the Potawatomis; for more than 12 years he has been married to a wild Indian woman. He dwells with her among the Potawatomis, living their way of life, dressing in a manner only a little more European than theirs. His wife, a big, enormously strong woman, had a pretty good laugh when the old gray Canadian was making some boyish jokes for us, at the same time negotiating with my host over some hides that he brought from his forests. Mister Coquillard, who negotiated as the American government's agent for Indian affairs, offered him, who is cultivating himself for savagery, 300 dollars a year to stay with him as his assistant agent. But the strange Canadian prefers to disport himself in the primeval forest with his fat and not at all beautiful squaw and to fast severely, sometimes for several days, when there is nothing to eat. That is how it is to be human! The cultivated toil away to civilize the savages, and the civilized toil away to run wild again. But this is not the only example. In the history of Canada we find several considerable aristocrats, well raised in Europe, who let themselves be accommodated as comrades by the Indians along the St. Laurence River, and remained with them.

The sister of an Englishmen living in America had been kidnapped in her early youth by Indians and had been raised by them. Through an extraordinary coincidence the sister has been found and recognized by her cheerless brother after many years. The joy of the reunion didn't last very long, because the sister could not be induced through any pleading or begging to return with her brother to her relatives in the civilized world. She stayed with the savages!

Also the British captain Marryhat [Frederick Marryat] tells in his diary how he met a formerly very educated European who settled with the Indians and even became one of their war chiefs.


During my stay in South Bend I was sitting one morning in the Coquillard family's parlor and talking with the little son of the household when suddenly a handsome, slender, young Indian came in. The strongly built child of the forest came into the room with dignity and moved freely and without inhibition on the expensive carpets of my friend's parlor, as if he was always used to the luxury of refined England. He didn't show the slightest awkwardness in his behavior, which is characteristic for the people who live in seclusion in the countryside and are suddenly pushed into the ritual of the cities. The young Indian was very well dressed: He wore perfectly tight-fitting leggins -- that means "leggings" or a kind of two-part trousers worn like long stockings and tied to the hips with string. These leggings were decorated on the outside with a wide border that stuck out a little. Over them a clean shirt hung down to the knees, fastened with a leather belt around his hips like the dust coats of our students. In his belt he had a bowie knife and on his feet he had fine moccasins (Indian shoes) cut from soft deer hide, like tobacco pouches in the shape of feet, sewn together only on the instep. Because of its lightness and softness this kind of shoe is very beneficial for the silent walk of the quick-footed, cunning savage.

The moccasins of this young Indian were moreover decorated with embroidered leather trimmings, which covered the ankle and almost the whole upper part of the shoes. Such was the squaw's embroidery; nobody would expect such neat needlework from savage Indian women. His well formed head was bare; his shiny black hair was combed from the front to the back and fell down his neck; his glowing jet black eye was focused on me the "Father". (With "Nose", Father, as I already mentioned, the converted savages address the missionary.) And as he stepped closer to the Father with graceful posture, he knelt down to receive the blessing of the "Blackrobe" and asked me to accept the present which he presented in the name of the Indian band that had sent him. It was a very big, just recently shot, and already totally cleaned turkey,* which was accepted and immediately delivered to the kitchen of the housewife. {* The wild turkeys in the forest of America are far bigger than the domestic ones which we find in Germany. They live in flocks and are hunted and shot with much less effort than partridges in the fields of Europe.} When Madame Coquillard noticed my obvious admiration for the handsome build and fine figure of an Indian young man, she told me that not long ago in the vicinity one such well built young Indian had been killed by his own grandmother. The young man had killed an Indian from a different tribe in a state of great excitement. Shortly after the crime had happened, the murderer regained consciousness and, knowing well that according to pagan Indians' laws of vengeance, his life became forfeit to the family of the murder victim, he fled and disappeared. The vindictiveness in the hearts of the Indians, where the power of Christianity hasn't reached yet, is unbelievable. If they die before they can get hold of their desired victim, they leave the execution of the revenge plan as the holiest tradition for their offspring, which they couldn't carry out because of the lack of opportunity. So unsatisfied feelings for revenge pass on to several generations. Now the family of the murder victim demands from the family of the murderer a reconciliation sacrifice, which cannot consist of anything other than the extradition of murderer himself or another member of his family related by blood. If a relative of the murderer had surrendered himself, the shame of the murder and on top of that the shame resulting from his weakness of character, because of the penance he failed to do, would have remained on his head, and even his relatives would have looked upon him as an outcast. Considering all this, the grandmother of the murderer knew how lure her grandson out of his hiding place, and they met in the vicinity of Mr. Coquillard's house.

The grandmother, a strong, vigorous Indian women, now told her grandson, since he had to die, it would be more honorable to be killed by her than to die the death of revenge under the humiliating hands of the enemies who were pursuing him -- and saying this, she stuck her knife in the chest of the unsuspecting young man. The grandson quickly breathed his last, and the grandmother's barbaric sense of honor was satisfied. But now nature also claimed its rights towards that woman. As she saw the young man lying on the ground in his blood, she raised such an outcry of lamentation and such howls of mourning that the stones of the valley and the trees of the forests asked to mourn with her. She fell down on the grandson, tearing her hair, pounding her chest, stamping her feet on the ground on which the corpse was lying. This severe pain passed into a frenzy which lasted almost a whole day. The other relatives also came by and helped to complete the dreadful picture of furious agony. A messenger was sent to the family of the murder victim by the grandson -- the reconciliation had been accomplished. "This scene of agony," said Mrs. Coquillard, "is always fresh before my eyes; the impression she had on me is indelible. I was suffering badly and couldn't at all get the howls of mourning out of my ears. Thanks be to God, who sent the missionaries to relieve them from such scenes."

At this remark, I myself appreciated the divinity of the Christian faith, which is capable of making gentle children and lambs out of brutes and hyenas. Indians, even the most frantic men, give up their vindictiveness, which had been part of them for all times, once they have sworn allegiance to the banner of Christ.


From the mission house at St. Mary of the Lake I returned to Bertrand, where I had left my travel effects; I had been sent there from Detroit to "celebrate Easter" with the Germans living in the vicinity, because the priest working in this district wasn't able to speak German. Because the distance from St. Mary of the Lake to Bertrand only amounted to several miles, I set off on foot, breviary in one hand, my umbrella, which also served me as a sunshade, in the other. I had already passed the hill at the lake, which I described to you at the "Indian baptism", and I was about to turn in an open woodland towards my destination, when I suddenly heard a far sounding, piercing whistle, which I recognized immediately in its peculiarity as the communication signal of the savages.

Had I been in a different region where pagan, really wild Indians lived, I would not have heard this whistle with total peace of mind but as something pernicious, because this characteristic Indian whistle, which sets the teeth on edge, is normally a signal to attack, at which they, in their cunning, suddenly fall upon their chosen human sacrifice and hand it over to their cannibalistic desires. This time I wasn't in danger; the whistle surprised but didn't frighten me. And when I looked back to where the piercing sounds came from, I noticed a tall, handsome Indian figure under a tree on the hill. I understood the Indian when he saddled a horse and indicated that I should use it. Since I didn't have the essential missionary "art" of riding well, I would have preferred, of course, to continue my journey on foot, rather than to entrust myself to the brave, big Indian nag -- but I didn't want to offend the good-hearted savage, who certainly would have considered my refusal of his offer an indication of low regard for his helpful respect towards the "Father"; for that reason I returned and mounted the horse he offered. After a long ride through the impressive remains of a great primeval forest, I arrived safely in Bertrand. The Indian's noble-minded animal didn't take revenge for my riding skills, and behaved itself very gently despite its impetuous character.

Bertrand is a little, newly constructed village founded by the French (or half-breed) Canadian Bertrand in the southwestern part of State of Michigan near the St. Joseph River.

Even though Bertrand had been laid out splendidly in its plan, so far it hasn't grown to an important size, for which malaria, which was causing its own kind of havoc under the name of "Michigan fever", was particularly responsible. It is true that the newly plowed soil of land that has to be cultivated releases a certain toxic substance all over America, which, through various diseases, reverses the ignorant and incautious immigrants' earlier ideas of happiness; but in some regions this toxic substance appears more frequently and more severely, particularly where water is scarce during the summer; during the winter the water of the river can be used until warmer times of the year. With the aging of the cultivated new soil even this evil of the first settlements will probably disappear; but what good does this do for the already sick or even deceased countryman? In Bertrand the fever raged horribly in those days; I still met several sick people, who gave terrible accounts of the misery in which they recently lived -- in many houses whole families laid low, helpless until another sick person, who pulled himself together sooner, came from the neighborhood, and could attend the abandoned sufferer a little bit.

Little children often provided the nursing for their relatives until they themselves were thrown on the sickbed (if there was still a bed available). Very many died of this fever, and the new looking village of Bertrand gave the impression of a deserted town ruin. A good many people who have a craving for emigration, who have their good income in their old home country, would be cured of their wanderlust, if they could see in advance the four to five year long struggle, through which the immigrant has to put himself in America, if he doesn't want to expose himself from then on to an undetermined position in relation to his livelihood.

But the soil in and around Bertrand is very fertile and is excellently suited for productive growing of wheat; one who has luckily survived the first hard time of test and struggle can live afterwards without lack of food. But besides the mortal body the immigrant also has an eternal soul and an immortal spirit, which in the loneliness of the new world, in the distant west, for example, are crying far more impetuously and tormentedly for the satisfaction of their hunger than in the old world, in Europe.

Didn't I have to make a trip from my mission station of more than 500 English miles to get to German emigrants, who had already sighed for seven years for a priest who knows how to console them in their mother tongue?


Mr. Bertrand's wife is an Indian of the Potawatomi tribe, -- a good-hearted soul, who has been much refined through Christianity. She is the total opposite of her husband, who obtained considerable lands through her. The children of this marriage might have adopted the outer coat of civilization, but the traditional life in the woods shows everywhere through the modern city clothing. The sons are married to Anglo-American women, whose children also still have the darker skin of the Indians, which unpleasantly contrasts with the snow-white delicate skin color of their mothers. The younger Bertrands also speak French and English, besides the Indian dialect of their mother, and are rendering great service as translators between the missionaries and the Indians. Their sisters are playing "Ladies"; they look in their European outfits, compared to their mother dressed in plain Indian clothes, like strange growths on the family tree.

What a good many painters would have given if they could have been in my place to study the peculiar characteristics that emerged from this strange mixture of people in the Bertrand family.


The Sunday had arrived on which I wanted to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with my German brothers in the faith in the little brick church on the St. Joseph River at Bertrand. The news had spread through the region that a sermon in German would be given in the village, and Germans from every denomination came from their distant settlements to listen once again (for some the first time in 20 years) to the Word of God in their old native language. Irish and French, Anglo-Americans and English immigrants were also eager to see a German priest and to listen to him in his native tongue.

Bertrand hasn't been so lively and full of visitors for a long time as on that day, and for that reason I received more than one compliment from the local residents.

During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which I said before the sermon, I gave Communion to the German Catholics and then to a great horde of Indians, who had been prepared for it the day before.

They had spruced themselves up for the spiritual wedding meal; their woolen blanket wraps were freshly washed, their shirts underneath were clean, all damages on the leggings and moccasins had been carefully repaired. Most of the men had colored scarves wrapped around their heads; the squaws pulled their woolen blankets, some of which were embroidered with artistic hem stitches, over their heads from their backs to their foreheads and held them together under their chins with their hands.

As fantastically as some of these Indians had adorned themselves, wrapping many decorations around them, not one of the curious people present in the church tried to laugh, because they could see at the same time the decency and respect with which the converted "savages" were going to celebrate the mysteries of their holy religion. As they finally approached the communion rail at the altar and fell down on their knees to receive in the lowly form of bread the highest Lord of Heaven and Earth, all people present, whatever their religion, were visibly touched. But I myself, who had to look directly into the face of the Indians, was deeply touched, so much that I could hardly hold the chalice. These wild children of nature with their otherwise sharp and glaring physiognomies had now with the enjoyment of the Lamb nothing but faces of saints. Their black eyes bathed in tears, which rolled down their copper red cheeks in big and heavy pearls; a kind of transfiguration was poured out across their faces, which showed the pagans the power of the faith and showed the faithful the inner sun of grace, which shone out of the hearts of these inhabitants of the forest who had been innocent since their baptism.

A greater humility, a higher decency, a firmer faith and a deeper worship can hardly be found anywhere than in these natives of America in the church at Bertrand, which became apparent to the astonished and ashamed descendants of Europe. This edifying behavior of the Indians also prevented them from being derided and ridiculed by the different-minded residents of Bertrand, when they knelt in front of the priest to receive his blessing if they met him somewhere in the village, which they did with a special trust in the "Great Spirit".

At noon I ate with all the Germans, who had done their Easter duty in the morning with me at the same table, in the restaurant of a man from the black forest, Mister Mezger; it was a truly loving feast, as I had never experienced before.

I refrain from all sentimental remarks about this mission, which was connected with a very burdensome trip. Every reader will easily guess what was happening in my heart at this scene in the field of religion, as it made me quickly forget all struggles; the recollection of it still fills me with gratitude towards Him, whose mysterious paternal rule over all men on the whole earth becomes apparent.