Record Group 1 of Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Records
Historical Note: Notable People

BCIM Historical Note Scope and Content

The roots of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions began in 1873 with the appointment of a Catholic Commissioner for Indian Missions. The purpose of that office, which was incorporated the following year as the Office of the Catholic Commissioner for Indian Missions and later renamed the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, was to protect, promote, and administer the interests of the Catholic Church with respect to missions and evangelization among the Native Americans in the United States. In so doing, it advocated for and raised funds for Catholic missions and related Native American social and cultural issues in general.

Notable People: Officers and personnel of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and notable allied fund raising raising organizations.

Notable Events: Notable events regarding the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions and Catholic evangelization of Native Americans in the present-day United States.

Notable Evangelization: Selected Native American missions, schools, parishes, and ministry programs supported by the Black and Indian Mission collection and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions.

Pictorial History: "The Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions: 140 Years of Action", presented at the 75th annual Tekakwitha Conference in Fargo, North Dakota, July 24, 2014.

Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions/ Office of Catholic Commissioner for Indian Missions

Biographies/ More biographical information: Click on their names below; for interviews of Msgr. Lenz and Rev. Zuern, S.J., see Series 17.

Portraits: For Gen. Ewing, Capt. Mullan, and the first five executive directors, see the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Digital Image Collection.


1873-1883 General Charles B. Ewing (1835-1883) Note: Link to website of Catholic University of America Archives
1883-1884 Captain John Mullan (1830-1909)


Executive Directors

1879-1884 Reverend John Baptist A. Brouillet (1813-1884)
1885-1901 Reverend Joseph A. Stephan (1822-1901)
1901-1921 Monsignor William H. Ketcham (1868-1921)
1921-1935 Monsignor William M. Hughes (1880-1939)
1935-1976 Reverend John B. Tennelly, S.S. (1890-1981)
1976-2007 Monsignor Paul A. Lenz (1925-2017); priest of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown; Vice-Postulator of the Canonization Cause of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, 2006-2012
2007-2015 Reverend Wayne Carroll Paysse (1960-); priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans
2015- Reverend Maurice Henry Sands (1956-) (Ojibwa-Ottawa-Potawatomi); priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit

Assistant or Associate Directors / Administrative Assistants/ Director of Business and Finance/ Secretaries, Treasurers

1874-1928 Charles S. Lusk (1851-1928), Secretary
1876-1879 Reverend John Baptist A. Brouillet (1813-1884), Treasurer
1879-1881 Reverend Felix Barotti, Treasurer
1881-1884? Reverend Charles S. Jones, Treasurer
1880s-1890 Reverend George L. Williard, Secretary
1880s Reverend Jacob A. Walter, Treasurer
1905-1913 Reverend Charles Warren Currier (1857-1918), Assistant Director
1910-1925 Reverend Edward R. Dyer, S.S. (1854-1925), Treasurer
1912 Reverend William M. Hughes (1880-1939), Assistant Director
1921 Reverend William Quinn
1926-1935, 1937-1976 Reverend John B. Tennelly, S.S. (1890-1981), Secretary-Treasurer; Acting Secretary-Treasurer
1928-1920s Reverend John S. Woods, Secretary
1928-1935 Eugene J. Welsh, Secretary
1936 George J. Widman, Secretary
1937 Reverend John M. Cooper, Secretary
1979-1987 Reverend Theodore (Ted) F. Zuern, S.J. (1921-2007), Assistant Director
1995-2001 Reverend Theodore (Ted) F. Zuern, S.J. (1921-2007), Legislative Assistant
1990s-2011 Patricia O'Rourke, Administrative Assistant, 1990s-2007; Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, 2007-2011?
2011-2014 Dawn Alexander, Director of Business and Finance

Presidents of Board of Directors/ Committee of Prelates

1884-1896 Bishop Martin Marty, O.S.B. (1834-1896), Bishop of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
1896-1921 James Cardinal Gibbons (1834-1921), Archbishop of Baltimore
1921-1951 Denis J. Cardinal Dougherty (1865-1951), Archbishop of Philadelphia
1951-1967 Francis J. Cardinal Spellman (1889-1967), Archbishop of New York
1967-1988 John J. Cardinal Kroll (1910-1996), Archhbishop of Philadelphia
1988-1989 Archbishop William D. Borders (1913-2010), Archbishop of Baltimore
1989-2000 John J. Cardinal O'Conner (1920-2000), Archbishop of New York
2000-2003 Anthony Joseph Cardinal Bevilacqua (1923-2012), Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
2003-2007 William H. Cardinal Keeler (1931-), Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore
2007-2009 Edward Michael Cardinal Egan (1932-2015), Archbishop Emeritus of New York
2009-2011 Edwin Frederick Cardinal O'Brien (1939-), Archbishop of Baltimore, Resigned
2011-present Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan (1950-), Archbishop of New York

Editor, The Indian Sentinel

1916-1932 Inno McGill
1933-1935 Reverend Arthur E.J. Reilly
1935-1962 Reverend John B. Tennelly, S.S. (1890-1981)

Field Missionaries

1910s [Nicholas (Nick)] Black Elk (Oglala) (1860s-1950)
1920s Reverend Albert Negahnquet (Potawatomi, 1874-1944)
1920s Reverend Philip B. Gordon (Ojibwa, 1885-1948)

Field Lecturers

1901-1920s? Reverend Henry G. Ganss
1910-1916 Monsignor William M. Hughes (1880-1939)
1921-1925 Reverend William Huffer
1922-1926 Reverend John S. Woods
1924-1925 Reverend William Flynn

Legal Advisors

1909-1910s Charles Joseph Bonaparte (1851-1921)
1940-1940s Austin F. Canfield

Associated Fund Raising Organizations

1875-1887 Catholic Indian Missionary Association and Catholic Indian Mission Fund, Washington, D.C.
1884-ongoing Commission for the Catholic Missions among the Colored People and the Indians, Washington, D.C.
1885?-1975? Association de la Sainte Enfance (Pontifical Society of the Holy Childhood), Paris, France
1885?-1921? Leopoldine Stiftung (Leopoldine Society), Vienna, Austria
1885?-1975? Society for the Propagation of the Faith, Lyon, France
1901-1922 Society for the Preservation of the Faith Among Indian Children, Washington, D.C.
1904-1991 Marquette League for Catholic Indian Missions, New York City
1906-ongoing Catholic Church Extension Society, Chicago