Red Cloud Indian School was founded by members of the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits—from the Wisconsin Province.
The Jesuits were originally founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola. Loyola wished that all Jesuits act in imitation of Christ at all times. They quickly became well known as educators and scholars, and for ministering to the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned. Their work extended across the globe, in places like Asia, Africa, and India.
The Jesuits gained fame for several of their challenging ideas. Foremost, it followed the law of Cura Personalis, or care for the person, in all of its endeavors. This meant that even poor people, foreigners, and Indigenous people were to be treated with the dignity due to any child of God.
Jesuits focused on educating the whole person. That is, a Jesuit education was not meant to be merely an instruction of the intellect, but of heart, spirit, and mind together. These two traditions—care for the person and education of the whole person—are the cornerstones of all modern Jesuit education.
The Jesuits grew quickly, numbering in the thousands within 20 years of its founding. They were a highly visible group, challenging the contemporary way of thinking by living among the poor and disenfranchised, sending missions to far-away places and living among the people there.
In 1888, the Jesuits came to the Pine Ridge Reservation at the request of Chief Red Cloud, and set up Holy Rosary Mission, which would later be renamed Red Cloud Indian School. Then, and still today, the Jesuits serve in many capacities: as president of the organization, ministers in the churches, teachersin the classrooms, and in a variety of support roles.
Red Cloud Indian School is proud to be a part of the almost 100 universities and over 400 high schools now sponsored by the Jesuits around the world.