[seal of the state of Montana] The 41st state to be admitted to the Unites States, 8 November 1889. The founder of the missions in Montana was the Apostle of the Northwest, the Belgian Jesuit, Father Pierre Jean de Smet. In 1841, with Father Nicholas Point and Father Gregory Mengarini, he established Saint Mary's Mission, on the Bitter Root River, near the present site of Stevensville. A chapel was quickly built, with the assistance of the Indians, and the mission flourished for about ten years, being abandoned for a time after 1850 and reestablished by Father Giorda, 1866. The name of one of its early priests, Father Antonio Ravalli, S.J., who arrived there in 1845, survives in the present name of the county. The Mission of Saint Ignatius, founded for the Flatheads of eastern Washington by Father de Smet in 1844, was later re-established at a point about 30 miles above Missoula by Father Adrian Hoecken. Father Point preached to the Blackfeet in 1846, but the permanent Mission of Saint Peter near the present Great Falls was only founded by him and Father Hoecken, 1859. The earliest white settlements to have churches were Hell Gate (later moved to Missoula, 1863, where Father U. Grassi was the first pastor, and Frenchtown, 1865. Father Giorda ministered at Alder Gulch (now Virginia City), 1863. Catholic influence on the place-names of the state include following: Ecclesiastically, the state is governed by the dioceses of, See also,
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