Two brothers, Father Ronald (Ron) Foshage, M.S. and Father Nathanael (Nate) Foshage, O.S.—separated by 1,150 miles—are priests ministering in different states within the Catholic church. And, they have a longstanding connection with St. Michael Indian School.
Father Ron travels within an area covering five different parishes in Texas in the Diocese of Beaumont. There are about 100 families at the St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Jasper. Liz Connell, a retired educator, and Helen Zagar, a longtime parishioner, remarked on their partnership with SMIS: “I am thrilled for the parish to support the school. I enjoy seeing the children learn in a Catholic environment where they become good citizens. I’m always pleased to learn about how the school is doing and proud we can help,” stated Helen Zagar. Over 97 percent of the collections taken for their particular projects or charities is directed to the projects they support every month.
“We have a very giving spirit among the parishioners. Father Ron embodies that spirit. He does a lot for our Catholic community and the entire town,” affirmed Liz. Father Ron was recently named Citizen of the Year this past January by the Jasper Lake Sam Rayburn Chamber of Commerce. “SMIS is one of the charities our parish contributes to every month. Since we began giving to the school every month, our church seems to never be without what is necessary for our parish. We have enjoyed our relationship with the school, school president Dot Teso even visited us a few years back, and we plan to continue to support the school. We are proud of what they do in their community,” said Father Ron.
Father Nate is no stranger to the Navajo Nation and Hopi villages. Volunteering over the last 20 years, he’s helped in Moenkopi with Hopi seniors and then at SMASE with Joe Pacal. He visited the Saint Michaels area with volunteers and high school students from his parish in 2010 to repair and build greenhouses in the area. Upon having dinner at local diner, he bumped into a few Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and befriended Sister Kathleen Kajer, SBS. Not hesitating to connect, Sister asked if anyone of their helpers knew how to handle a project she was struggling with—and of course a volunteer came to her aid. The partnership stemmed from there, and over the years, the parishioners of St. Daniel the Prophet of Ouray, CO learned more about the school founded by Saint Katharine Drexel. St. Daniel parishioners include local Silverton, CO families and the many travelers who visit the majestic mountains throughout the year.
In a conversation many years ago, the brothers teased one another about who could support the school more. Thus began the slight competition but growing comradery to garner support for the mission of Saint Katharine Drexel and education to the Native American people of Saint Michaels and the surrounding areas.
SMIS currently has 12 parishes that support the school through annual giving. Often, these gifts are collected during their almsgiving or Christmas donation seasons. The four churches overseen by Father Ron and Father Nate account for 78 percent of all the parish gifts of support to the school. St. Daniel the Prophet in Ouray, CO; Our Lady of La Salette Mission in Kirbyville, TX; St. Raymond Mission in Sam Rayburn, TX; and Toledo Village Station in Toledo Village, TX have collectively gifted $27,500 last year to the school.