Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Benedictines, Conception Abbey
P.O. Box 501 
Conception, MO 64433

Phone 660-944-2821

Hours: By appointment only

Access: Some restrictions apply

Copying facilities: Yes

History: St. Benedict founded the Benedictines or Order of St. Benedict in ca. 529, which is comprised of autonomous monastic houses or abbeys loosely governed by confederations. Founded in 1873, Conception Abbey is a monastery of the Swiss-American Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation. Conception Abbey has administered the following missions and parishes among the Hunkpapa Indians on the Standing Rock Reservation:

1879-present St. Peter Church, Fort Yates, North Dakota
1880-1971 (closed) Assumption/ St. Benedict Church, Kenel, South Dakota
1887-present St. Bede Mission, Wakpala, South Dakota
1890-present St. Aloysius Mission, Bullhead, South Dakota
1890-present St. Elizabeth Mission, Cannonball, North Dakota
1896-1950 (closed) St. Edward Mission, Mad Bear's Camp, South Dakota
1896-present St. James Mission, Porcupine, North Dakota
1913-1970 (closed) St. Ambrose Mission, Black Horse, South Dakota
1916-1971 (closed) Sacred Heart Mission, Little Eagle, South Dakota
1920-1937 (closed) St. Bernard Mission, Red Cedar, North Dakota
1920-1950 (closed) Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission, La Compte, South Dakota


Holdings of Catholic records about Native Americans:

Inclusive dates: 1873-present, undated

Volume: 2.3 cubic feet and 3 reels microfilm

Description: 4 series include Native Catholic records, which excluding photographs and publications, were microfilmed in 1982 by Marquette University.


/1 "B-Journals" Inclusive dates: 1873-1966, undated

Volume: .8 cubic foot


A. Abbot Frowin Conrad, O.S.B., "Diary," 1873-1920, 4 volumes: Include occasional references to Indian mission and school activities

B. Reverend Othmar Buerkler, "Diary," 1920-1966, 4 notebooks: Include occasional references to Indian mission activities

C. Samples of Indian students' work, e.g., artwork, essays, maps, math, sewing, and penmanship, 1893-1894, 1896, undated, 9 volumes

D. Photograph album, undated (bulk ca. 1890-1910), 126 prints: primarily Indian children at Standing Rock Reservation mission schools


/2 "C-Pictures" Inclusive dates: 1885-1965 (bulk 1885-1920)

Volume: 328 photographs

Description: Primarily people and buildings on the Standing Rock Reservation, which include portraits of Native Americans by commercial photographers, e.g. S.J. Fansler, Frank B. Fiske, D.E. Miller.


/3 "D-II-Parishes, Missions, and Chaplaincies"

Inclusive dates: 1876-1980, undated

Volume: .9 cubic foot

Description: Correspondence arranged alphabetically by location of the mission or parish.

A. "Cannonball, St. Elizabeth’s," 1907, 1 folder

B. "Elbowoods, Sacred Heart," 1910, undated, 1 folder

C. "Fort Yates, St. Peter’s," 1876-1878, 1881-1957, 1962, 1973, undated, .4 cubic foot: bulk 1881-1929; contains incoming and outgoing correspondence; major correspondents include Father Martin Marty, O.S.B. and Father Bernard Strassmaier, O.S.B., Abbot Frowin Conrad, O.S.B., Sister M. Gertrude, O.S.B. and Sister M. Mathilda, O.S.B., and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions

D. "Kenel, St. Benedict's," 1882-1912, 1919, 1924, 1928, 1937, 1940-1941, 1961, undated, .3 cubic foot: majority of correspondence is from the years 1881-1912; contains incoming and outgoing correspondence; major correspondents include Father Martin Kenel, O.S.B., Abbot Frowin Conrad, O.S.B., Sister M. Mathilda, O.S.B., and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions

E. "McLauahlin, St. Bernard's," 1918-1921, 1923, 1937, 1940, 1972, 1 folder

F. "Selfridge, St. Philomena," 1924, 1932, 1937, 1940-1943, 1947, 1948, 1950-1951, 1 folder: includes correspondence re: St. James Mission, Porcupine

G. "Shields, St. James," 1911-1912, 1 folder

H. "Stephan, Immaculate Conception," 1897, 1916, 1 folder: includes drawings by Indian students

I. "Wakpala, St. Bede's," 1933, 1935-1937, 1940, undated, 1 folder

J. "Yankton, Sacred Heart Convent (O.S.B.)," 1880-1897, 1902-1904, 1906-1909, 1911-1912, 1914, .2 cubic foot: bulk 1880-1897; primarily incoming correspondence; major correspondents include Sister M. Gertrude, O.S.B., Sister M. Hildegarde, O.S.B., and Sister M. Xaveria, O.S.B., Father Martin Marty, O.S.B., and Abbot Frowin Conrad, O.S.B.

K. "Standing Rock Reservation Missions, Historical Notes and Publications," 1909-1980, undated, 1 folder


/4 "G-Publications"

Inclusive dates: 1905-present

Volume: .1 cubic foot

Description: 3 publications of Conception Abbey with occasional articles on or references to Native Americans and Catholic evangelization.

A. The Morning Star, 1905-1926, and intermittently to 1952

B. Tower Topics, 1954-present

C. Inter Nos, 1959-1976


[Holdings not at Marquette University, however, Marquette’s holdings include the microfilm edition of these records minus photographs and publications plus additional related records.]


Archival materials from the Raynor Memorial Libraries

Marquette Archives