[seal of the state of Oklahoma] The 46th state to be admitted to the United States, 16 November 1907. Although the Spanish Franciscan, Father Juan de Salas, is known to have labored early in the 17th century among the Indians of the present state of Oklahoma, the real beginning of Catholicity dates from the formation of the Prefecture Apostolic of Indian Territory, under the French Benedictines, in 1877. Before that date the scattered Catholic Indians and few white settlers had been visited by missionary priests from Arkansas or Kansas. By 1880, Dom Isidore Robot, O.S.B., the first Prefect Apostolic, had completed the Sacred Heart Abbey in Pottawatomie County, which became the center of missionary activities among the Indians. He also founded Saint Mary's Academy, under the Sisters of Mercy. The appointment of Right Reverend Theophile Meerschaert, O.S.B., as Vicar Apostolic, in 1891, followed close on the opening of Indian Territory to the whites, and his life was that af a pioneer missionary, visiting remote settlements, on horseback often, and celebrating Mass occasionally in a dugout when no house was available.

Catholic influence on place-names of the state is shown in the following: Ecclesiastically the state is governed by the archdiocese of and the diocese of See also
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