Fr. Jim Pillar, O.M.I. and Choctaw Native Americans

Tewksbury, MA

by Harry Winter, O.M.I.

The article referenced below was originally published by the Journal of Mississippi History and is re-posted here with permission

Fr. James J. Pillar, OMI

Dotti McDermott (Photo by Bro. Andrew Lawlor, OMI)

As part of his research into the Catholic Church in Mississippi (see Jan. 8, 2020 OMIUSA E-Newsletter), Jim Pillar wrote up his findings on efforts to Christianize the Choctaw Tribe. Imagine his surprise when the Clinical Director of Nursing at our Tewksbury facility, who welcomed him to the medical wing when he arrived in 2017, had a grandmother who was Choctaw.

Dotti McDermott, R.N., immediately asked for a copy of Jim’s article, “The Catholic Church’s Ministry to the Choctaws of Mississippi in the Nineteenth Century,” published in The Journal of Mississippi History, vol. 50 (Nov., 1988) 287-315, click here for the article. Dotti also told us that when the Clinical Directors from our two nursing sites (Tewksbury and San Antonio) met at Madonna House, San Antonio, TX, she was able to visit the Southwestern Oblate Historical Archives.  It was Mathew Martin, the archivist there, who obtained for us both of Jim’s articles in The Journal of Mississippi History.