Part 5

dsc08474

As the Catholic population in Oklahoma grew, the Vatican (upper left) took notice and sent newly ordained Bishop Theodore Meershart (in Bishop’s robe). Standing next to him is Saint Katharine Drexel, who was responsible for founding a number of missions for the native American and freed black children. The Native American family and orphaned children in this scene represent the groups who were the primary focus of the Church during this time. On the far right is Msgr. Ketcham became the first priest ordained in Oklahoma. He served for 20 years as the Director of the Catholic Bureau of Indian Missions in Washington.

Also in the background Mount St. Mary’s school for girls and St. Gregory’s University are pictured, as they were some of the first Catholic institutions established in Oklahoma.