Fort Vancouver Tapestry

17. Father Blanchet

Catholic Ladder

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Sponsored by: Mary Pat Peterson
In the top border you'll see three canoes carrying "Black Robes."  This is Father Blanchet arriving in the Northwest.  He devised the ‘Catholic ladder’ in 1842 at a Cowlitz mission, now known as St. Frances Mission, in Toledo, WA.  This ‘ladder’ was a tall wooden board laden with drawings, bars, and markings that symbolized the dogma of the Catholic faith and was used as a reference tool in the conversion of the tribes. Many copies were made and distributed to the chiefs where it was in constant use among the Northwest Indians for many years. In a land where many people could not read, this was a very useful tool for teaching Judeo-Christian religion in general and Catholicism in particular.

The apple tree seedling is in the bottom border.