Posts From The Road: St. Ignatius Mission In Montana

Mission Exterior: The St. Ignatius Mission in St. Ignatius, Montana stands tall with the belfry being almost 100 feet high. The church is on the Flathead Indian Reservation with the Mission Mountain Range serving as a backdrop to the town and mission. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

Interior View: Upon entering the church, visitors are immediately in awe of the building and the murals painted on the walls and ceiling. The murals were painted by Brother Joseph Carifnano, a self-taught artist, who was the mission cook. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

By GARY WARREN
Photographer
Formerly of Los Alamos

St. Ignatius Mission is a Roman Catholic mission located in St. Ignatius, Montana. The church was founded in 1854 and the current church building was built between 1891 and 1893.

What sets this magnificent facility apart are 58 murals painted on the church walls and ceiling. These murals are the work of Brother Joseph Carignano.

What is more amazing is Carignano was an untrained, self-taught artist who served as the mission cook. The murals were painted between 1904-1905. The mission was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and is a popular stop for tourists traveling in Montana.

We visited St. Ignatius three years ago. About 200 visitors per day visited the mission at that time. The mission is normally open daily for visitors but is presently closed due to COVID restrictions and restoration work, which is being done to the interior of the building. 

Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country and he shares his photographs, which appear in the ‘Posts from the Road’ series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.

Alter: The beautiful alter area of St. Ignatius Mission includes numerous architectural details as well as an assortment of the murals painted by Joseph Carifnano. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

Visitors: Visitors admire the architectural details as well as the murals throughout the interior of the mission. There are 58 murals, which adorn the interior walls and ceiling of St. Ignatius Mission. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com

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