May 23, 2018
There was a special dedication of a burial stone on Sunday, May 20, at the St. Rose of Lima Cemetery in Avoca, Minnesota.
The stone has the names of the six young women who died 130 years ago at the Academy of St. Rose (Holy Child Academy) in Avoca. Their names are etched deeply into the granite as a reminder of the courageous young women who left their homes on a South Dakota reservation and traveled to the prairie of Southwest Minnesota to attend school, to fall ill and to die in the subzero temperatures of a brutal winter.
A blessing of the stone with a short prayer service began at 2 p.m. at the cemetery. This was followed by a light lunch at Divine Mercy Hall at St. Ann’s Catholic Church on Maple Avenue in Slayton. There was also a special Native American blessing to conclude the dedication.
Special guests for this important event included Father Thien Nguyen, pastor of St. Ann, St. Columba and St. Mary, Slayton, Iona and Lake Wilson, Sister Roseanne McDougall, archivist for the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus (the Order who sent sisters to teach at the boarding school from 1883-1890), John Eagle, Dakota Elder and Marlys Knuth, MN Catholic Daughter of the Americas First Vice Regent and other dignitaries representing Native American’s from various Tribes and numerous Catholic Daughters as well as representation from the City of Avoca, the Knights of Columbus, Foresters, and the Murray County Historical Society.