Then and Now: Spokane’s first Catholic school

Nov 18, 2019 837

Father Joseph Cataldo was in frail health throughout his life, but he built an immense spiritual legacy across the Inland Northwest. Cataldo was born in 1837 in Sicily and became a Jesuit priest in 1852. He came to the western United States as one of the first Jesuit missionaries in the region. The sickly young priest arrived in the area around 1865.

Cataldo first encountered Spokane Indians near the falls in September 1866, but they were busy fishing on Crystal Island and not receptive to his Christian message. An Indian man told him to come back when they weren’t so busy. “Try November 1st,” he was told.

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