Native - Jesuit Approach to Ceremony
Father Aloysius Soer’s, a Jesuit preist on the plateau, wrote a letter discussing the treatment of the ill. A Native American named Ignace passed away, and Soer incorporated Native American traditions in his burial ceremony. Soer recalled, “The memory of this good Indian is honored by a palisade around his grave. The sight of this, from a hill near the Patlatch wagon-road, recalls to the minds of the Indians the death of one who, once baptized, fought valiantly against his passions, that he might live and die for his dear Saviour” (87).
Soer also wrote of a sick Native American named Manim Lambis Nimusus. Although Manim was a Native American, before he died Soer gave him the sacrament to prepare for his death in the Catholic tradition, stating, “After the last sacraments were administered, he was very happy because his soul was free from sin and fortified by Holy Communion” (86). Before Manim’s passing, Soer asked him about the religion of his family members. After seeing how dutifully Soer had treated her dying son, Manim’s once hesitant mother decided to convert her faith. Soer explains that, “The mother was at last moved by all she saw, and when I asked her again whether she wished to die as well prepared as her son, she answered from her inmost soul: “Yes! Oh, yes!”” (87). Soer had converted this tentative woman into a fervent Catholic. Through
his close and intimate relationships with the Native Americans, Soer was able to convert many of them to Catholicism. He interacted with them considerately, and cared for them in a way which positively changed their view on Catholicism. Still, he recognized and respected the other religious communities around him. Jesuit teachings were so strong that they also reached the Native population through other Natives, as Catholic Native Americans would attempt to convert others in their community. Acceptance of Catholicism began to grow rapidly amongst the Plateau people.