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Ravalli, Antonio


Missionary; b. Ferrara, Italy, May 16, 1812; d. Stevensville, Mont., Oct. 2, 1884. He entered the Society of Jesus in the province of Emilia in Italy on Nov. 12, 1827. Prior to ordination he devoted several years to teaching in Turin, Piedmont, and other parts of Italy. Desiring to work in the Native American missions of the Oregon Country, he prepared himself by studying medicine and acquiring mechanical trades. He accompanied Pierre de smet, SJ, from Belgium to the Oregon Country, 184344. After spending a winter among the Kalispel people on the Upper Columbia River, he was transferred to St. Mary's Mission among the Flathead people in western Montana. He remained there until the mission was temporarily abandoned in 1850 because of hostile Blackfeet. Following assignments with other tribes and at Santa Clara College, California (186063), he returned to St. Mary's Mission after it was reestablished in 1866. There he combined priestly endeavors with his ministry of medicine. He lived among the Native Americans for almost 40 years and was held in an esteem that rivaled De Smet's. When he died at St. Mary's, the natives, as he had requested, buried him in their cemetery there. A monument marks his grave, and he is commemorated in Montana by having a station of the Northern Pacific Railroad, located about 40 miles north of Missoula, named after him.

Bibliography: l. b. palladino, Indian and White in the Northwest: A History of Catholicity in Montana (2d ed. rev. Philadelphia 1922).

[j. b. mcgloin]

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