Did you know that the St. Ignatius Mission was built in 1891? And with local materials including one million bricks formed from local clay. That is quite a few bricks! Today the Mission consists of five buildings: two of the original residences, the rectory, a Sister’s Convent and the church. At one time the Mission was home to the first Jesuit theological and industrial arts school in the Northwest, the first Catholic Sisters and Catholic school in Montana, a hospital, sawmill, flour mill, printing press, carpenter shop and blacksmith shop.
Through time various restoration projects have been done to maintain and preserve the beauty of the outside and inside of the church. The latest and possibly the most costly and dangerous problem is the east wall has shifted causing three of the largest murals to crack and buckle. Where possible, rice paper has been added to the frescos to help hold them in place. But, pieces of the plaster have already fallen, and time is of the essence to prevent the destruction of this historical and cultural treasure.
While St. Ignatius Mission was designated a Historical Site in 1973 the Mission does not receive any fund or support regarding the preservation of the Mission. All restoration projects through the time have been funded by grants or private donations. We continue to fundraise, now more than ever. Funds raised will be used to stabilize the murals and stop any further damage as well as help with the constant need for restoration of this magnificent church.