Preserving Montana's Catholic Heritage : Helena Diocesan Structures and Historic Preservation
Object ID:
St. Ignatius Mission, St. Ignatius, Montana

The present St, Ignatius church was built by the Jesuits in 1891 replacing an earlier church built in 1854 when the mission was moved from the banks of the Pend d'Oreille River in Idaho to the current site on the Flathead Indian Reservation in the Mission Valley. For two years the missionaries and the people labored, using the local clay for bricks and trees cut in the foothills to erect the 120' by 60' church. The belfry reaches nearly 100 feet to the clear sky above.

The large brick church was beautifully decorated with 58 murals painted by Brother Joseph Carignano, SJ. These frescoes depict the lives of the saints, and stories of the New and Old Testaments. The triptych over the main altar represents the three visions of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits and namesake of the church. Bro. Carignano, the cook and handyman at the Mission, had no professional training in art.
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St. Ignatius Mission interiorSt. Ignatius Mission interior
St. Ignatius Mission, exteriorSt. Ignatius Mission, exterior