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Now every once in a while you get the opportunity of a lifetime and this was ours. The older gentleman came back with his sister and we followed him in. Our now tour guide began sharing the history, his ancestors, Austrian immigrants had settled near Redfield, South Dakota, and they named their settlement Maria-Zell. The letters, M and Z are carved as part of the design above the windows on the upper floors on the outside to represent Maria-Zell. The Convent School was built in 1883 before South Dakota became a state. The Convent was established by Bishop Martin Marty who wanted a place to train teachers for the Catholic missions to tribal reservations. The Sisters who lived there as teachers, managed a farm from 1915 to support the school. The Sisters owned the land and raised their own meat, gardened and milked up to thirty cows. Most of the children grades one to eight spoke German and were taught English. Many children farther away came by bus and boarded there. Once we entered the large classrooms the existing chalkboards are filled with the history and all written in cursive hand writing. The original cast iron desks are present along with older pieces of furniture in not so great conditions. Ryan and I split up, I with the older gentleman and Ryan with his sister. I follow him out of the two very large classrooms and across the hallway to the chapel. He tells me that when he went to school here that he remembers helping with mass in the chapel. The wooden pews are present and the wooden kneelers had no padding. He tells me, “Boy those were uncomfortable to kneel on and there was vLENS continued on page 22 HISVOICEvJULY/AUGUST2018v21

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