Missionary, b. in Italy, 1811; d. at St. Mary's, Montana, U. S. A., 2 Oct., 1884. He entered the Society of Jesus about 1833. With Fathers Vercruyesse, Accolti, and Nobili, Brother Huybrechts, and six sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame de Namur, he responded to Father de Smet's appeal for the American mission in 1843, arriving at Fort Vancouver, 5 August, 1844, after a voyage of eight months. Having made a short stay at the mission of St. Paul on the Willamet (Champoeg, Oregon ), where he made a study of the English language and gave attention to the sick (being skilled in medicine in addition to his many other accomplishments), he joined Father Adrian Hoeck in the spring of 1845 at the mission of St. Ignatius among the Kalispel (Pend d'Oreille), on the upper Columbia, Washington. After some time he was transferred to the Flathead Mission of St. Mary's on Bitter Root River, western Montana, where he remained until the mission was temporarily abandoned on account of the hostile Blackfeet in 1850, when, in 1854, he assumed charge of the Scared Heart Mission established by Father Nicholas Point among the Coeur d'Alenes (Skitswish) of Northern Idaho. Here he designed and supervised the building of a handsome church which, with its altar and beautiful statues, carved by himself, has been described by a traveller as "a credit to any civilized country". Governor Stevens, who saw it in 1855, says in his official report: "The church was designed by the superior of the mission, Father Ravalli, a man of skill as an architect and, undoubtedly, judging from his well-thumbed books, of various accomplishments". In the general outbreak led by Yakima in 1856-67 his influence was largely instrumental in holding the northern tribes quiet.
In 1866 Father Congiato, superior of the Rocky Mountain missions, established the old Mission of St. Mary's on the Bitter Root, among the Flatheads, and among those appointed to the station was Father Ravalli, who had been with it at its abandonment sixteen years before. Here he remained until his death.
His finest eulogy comes from a Protestant historian: "Fifty years a Jesuit and forty years a missionary, one of the noblest men that ever laboured in the ranks of the Church in Montana, his fame stands very high in Montana, where a later generation knows more of him than even of Father de Smet ." (Chittenden). (See also FLATHEAD INDIANS; KALISPEL INDIANS; MISSIONS, CATHOLIC INDIAN, OF THE UNITED STATES.)
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online