Message #12 from Father Liebler, Helen Sturges, Brother Juniper, and Joan Eskell dated July 1, 1972;
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This letter outlines a death in the Pontious family, the success of the Mission's Christmas celebrations, the busy schedules of livestock raisers and the subsequent anticipated decrease in church attendance, and the construction and opening of the Mission's new chapel. The letter also contains notes and stories from the authors;
Digitized by: Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library;
Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives;
Bluff (Utah); San Juan County (Utah);
Reproduction for publication, exhibition, web display or commercial use is only permissible with the consent of the USU Library Western and Mormon Americana curator, phone (435) 797-2661;
Utah State University, Special Collections and Archives;
MESSAGE # 12, July 1, 1972
+ + +
Father Liebler Helen Sturges
Brother Juniper Joan Eskel1
Hat Rock Valley Retreat Center, P.O. Box 5
Monument Valley, Utah 84536
* * * Messages 1-11 have been issued semi-an-nually
from September 1966. Some back
numbers are available. Ask . ... ... ...
Our last Message was dated December I,
1971, ten days later Bill Sutherland left
for his home in New York state, having
seen his plans carried out and the new '
church put to use.
The following week saw us .. doing what we could for the bereaved Pontious family and
we rejoice to be able to report that they are rejoicing in the knowledge that Mary
Jane has found in Christ's Presence light, happiness and peace.
Our Christmas was phenomenal, with attendance about three times that of a normal
Sunday. (Thanks again for chairs, Winkl). Of course, the novelty of a new church
had something ta' do with it, as also the knowledge' that missionaries usually have
some goodies to distribute, but it still shows a basic hunger in the hearts of the
Navajo for the life-giving Word ,of God.
~ou read in our last issue about Bishop Otis' visit
for confirmation, but the place seems to have
touched his heart, as he carne back shortly after
Christmas with some of his family just to be with
his people and make Eucharist with them.
The new status of Utah as a diocese has brought
changes, deaneries have been created for discussion
of vital church matters on the l ocal plane . Father
Wayne is Dean of the southern deanery which has met ·
at Moab (175 miles north of here) and we have sent
delegates. Later, diocesan convention met at the
same place and, for the first t ime in history, Utah
elected a Navajo as deputy to the General Convention,
Robert Graymountain (picture below). Robert
is from the Navajo Mountain area and as a small boy
he received instruction in the Faith from Father
and learned about the sacramental life. Later he
encountered the Lord through the example of some
Pentecostals and is now witnessing boldly to his
fellow Navajos in Blanding.
Shearing and lambing seasons are bound to affect church attendance
in Spring, so far we see no way out of this. Even
the suggestion of a Sunday evening Mass presents problems.
Among rare visitors was our old friend George Thompson,
whose name may be 'fami l iar to readers of "Boil My Heart For
Me" as not a few of the illustrations' were made by him.. He
was photographer at the detonation of the first atom bomb
at Los Alamos. . He too~ many pictures of the new church
here which we hope we can share with you in our next issue.
A kindly ECW group at Sterling, Ill., made it possible
for Fr Liebler to revisit his old seminary, Nashotah, for
Commencement, many old and new friends were found, and he
met with a prayer-group that had recently been f ormed.