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MT365: Day 7

It may be said that the mountains are a sort of church. Many Montanans live from that very mindstate. And now that you’ve enjoyed the world class cathedrals of Glacier Park’s breathtaking peaks and valleys, take a trip to a more traditional outpost of the human religious impulse. You don’t have to go far, because the St. Ignatius Mission is in the neighborhood.

Located in the heart of the Flathead Indian Reservation, the St. Ignatius Mission was built in the early 1890’s and still serves the greater Mission Valley every Sunday. This church is remarkable for many reasons, not least of which is the amazing backdrop of the Mission mountains. But setting aside, what really distinguishes the St. Ignatius Mission from other churches are the 58 murals that adorn the interior.

Painted by Brother Joseph Carignano, who was a cook at the Mission, the paintings are what entice tourists and locals alike to reroute travel plans and block off Sunday mornings for a few moments of wonder. Even for those who aren’t religious, the building is a great example of aesthetic intention and speaks to the universality of our never-ending interest in the sublime.

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