One Lakota man could be on his way to Catholic sainthood

Nicholas Black Elk could be on his way to Catholic sainthood.
By  | 

MANDERSON S.D. (KOTA TV) - Decades after his death, Nicholas Black Elk continues to live on through Catholic practices at St. Agnes Church on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Black Elk is said to be a person who lived the gospel's message and he's on his way to being considered a saint in the Catholic church.

The process is now pending one final step: approval from the pope but it's not a quick process to promote someone to sainthood.

"We've been putting together all of the paperwork, all the witness testimonies that we need to have to send to Rome so they can investigate what we provided for them," says Robert Gruss the bishop for the diocese of Rapid City.

Now the paperwork is signed, sealed, and soon to be delivered to the Vatican in Rome.

"Hopefully it'll be moved forward in Rome and he will someday be declared a saint and it'll be a great day for the universal church," says Gruss.

Black Elk still has many family members on the reservation, including his great granddaughter, who continues to practice Catholicism. She came to St. Agnes Church Tuesday to see history in the making.

"I'm just pleased and I know my family is too. A lot of times we don't talk about how proud we are but we are all very pleased with it and hope it happens," says Pauline Wolters Black Elk's great-granddaughter.

It could take some time for the pope to decide whether or not Black Elk will be considered a saint.

"Whether that be 50 years, 100 years, 200 years or our great great grandkids will see it, something's going to happen," says Myron Pourier Black Elk's great-great grandson.