Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana
Shining the Light of Christ’s Love on a Suffering Population
Born in Montana, Sister Mary Dostal fell in love with Native American people and their culture after her first ministry assignment on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Ever since, she has been a strong advocate and steady caretaker for their unique spiritual needs.
In February 1998, she co-founded Angela’s Piazza: Women’s Drop-In Center in Billings as a safe haven for women who’ve been emotionally and physically mistreated. Here, they can grow in faith, find hope, and recognize their own wisdom and strength in Christ.
“Many women have been able to find a safe place,” said Anna DeCrane. “Here, women have found healing, both emotionally and spiritually, which empowers them and allows them to self-direct and advocate for themselves and others.”
With faith-based programs like the Domestic Violence Support Group, the Medicine Wheel 12-Step Program, and the Daughters of Tradition preventive program for Native American girls, Sister Mary has paired Catholicism with Native American traditions in an “organic ministry” to care for and empower these women in Montana.
When the position of Kateri Indian Ministry was eliminated in 2005, Sister Mary picked up the pieces of the program and organized it without any further financial support.
“Sister Mary stepped in as she saw the importance and need for the Urban Indian Ministry to continue in the Billings area,” said DeCrane. “Mary has made it her ministry to help the growth of urban Indians and help to continue the monthly Kateri mass.”