Fr. George Winzenburg, SJ
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Archbishop Cupich and Chicago Leaders Gather for Jesuits' Red Cloud Indian School
Jesuit School Seeks Support from Chicagoans to Continue
125-Year Tradition of Serving Lakota People in South Dakota
CHICAGO, Ill., October 6, 2015 -- Archbishop Blase Cupich and a group of prominent Chicagoans will gather on November 3, at 5:30 p.m., at the University Club for a reception to raise awareness and support for Red Cloud Indian School, a Jesuit ministry that has served the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for more than 125 years. A featured speaker at the event, Archbishop Cupich shares a special relationship with the school and the Lakota people, having spent 12 years as bishop of Rapid City -- where 25-27% of the Catholic population is Native American -- and significant time on the reservation.
Red Cloud Indian School, a K-12 school of 600 Lakota students, is located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which is roughly the size of Connecticut. The school stands as a beacon of hope among a population of more than 30,000 Lakota, whose per capita income of $9,136 makes the Rez, as it is known, arguably the poorest county in the United States.
Each year, Red Cloud's graduates -- representing a record number of Gates Millennium Scholars -- go on to top universities, including Creighton, Dartmouth, Stanford, and the University of Colorado. At the heart of the school is a curriculum of Lakota language, science, and math, complemented by spiritual formation that prepares students to earn a college degree and return home to be leaders who “give back to their community.”
"Through the generosity of benefactors from across the country, Red Cloud provides a high-quality, values-based education absolutely tuition free," said Jesuit Father George Winzenburg, who has led the school since 2010. "Our goal with this Chicago event is to thank existing benefactors and raise awareness among other Chicagoans who have a spirit of generosity and understand the power of education to help those in the greatest need."
One Red Cloud graduate eager to express her gratitude at the November 3 event is Dr. Alicia Mousseau, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and a resident of the Pine Ridge Reservation. After graduating from Red Cloud in 2000, Dr. Mousseau went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Creighton University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Wyoming.
“Red Cloud provided me an environment where I could explore and develop my critical thinking skills,” she said. “It not only empowered me to ask questions, but also gave me the support to create and implement solutions.” Dr. Mousseau is a board member for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Research Review Board and faculty for the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health out of the Colorado School of Public Health.
The connection between Chicago and Red Cloud Indian School spans half a century, when the Chicago Athletic Club’s first three presidents -- Coach George Allen, baseball pitcher Paul “Dizzy” Trout, and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Bill Gleason -- became deeply involved in helping the school's athletic program. Their energy, determination, and hard work, as well as the support of countless friends in Chicagoland, made possible the construction of Red Cloud's Paul “Dizzy” Trout Memorial Field House in 1973.
“Reconnecting Chicago and Red Cloud Indian School raises awareness of Native Americans’ hopes and dreams but also their culture and spirituality,” said Fr. Winzenburg. “Lakota practice virtues such as hospitality, generosity, and courage. They also care deeply for creation, a theme that Pope Francis addressed so powerfully during his U.S. visit."
Before taking on a leadership role at Red Cloud, Fr. Winzenburg was president of Marquette University High School in Milwaukee from 1985 to 1995 and served as a trustee at Loyola Academy and Saint Ignatius College Prep. He and Lakota staff will be available for interviews in the afternoon on November 3. If you would like to attend the event, please contact Fr. Winzenburg at 605-381-1351 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is a Catholic institution administered by the Jesuits and the Lakota people. It seeks to develop and grow a vibrant Church through an education of the mind and spirit, promoting Lakota and Catholic values. To learn more, please visit our electronic press kit and the school's website: www.redcloudschool.org
The Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, is a religious order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. For more than 470 years, the Jesuits have served in the spirit of St. Ignatius Loyola, who founded the order in 1540. Jesuits serve throughout the United States and the world, in educational institutions, parishes, retreat centers, social justice ministries, international ministries, and intellectual apostolates. The Midwest Jesuits serve in a wide range of ministries from the Great Lakes to the Great Plains, based in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam
“For the Greater Glory of God”