Nestled in the rolling hills of the northeast corner of Nebraska, St. Augustine Indian Mission and School has served the Native American people of the Winnebago and Omaha tribes since 1909. The roots reach deep into Catholic missionary history when elders of the Winnebago and Omaha nations contacted a local attorney to write a letter to the Bishop of Omaha, requesting that a school be built for their children. Bishop James O'Connor was uniquely prepared to meet their request.
As a priest in Philadelphia, he came to know the family of Katharine Drexel and soon became her spiritual leader. He watched her desire to serve the poor and her vocation grow. He also helped her to write the constitution of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, whose charter included building and staffing schools for Native American children.
In the spring of 1909, Mother Katharine Drexel arrived by train in Winnebago to personally oversee the construction of a church, rectory and dormitory / school for the children. The first classes were held in the fall of 1909. This woman, born into wealth, would use her fortune to help ensure a brighter future for the Native American children she loved.
Through the years, St. Augustine Indian Mission has touched the lives of thousands of Native American children and impacted the lives of their families. Today, St. Katharine Drexel's dream lives on, as the Mission continues to grow in excellence by celebrating and embracing culturally enriching programs and preparing students for a lifetime of inquiry and success.