Father Ravalli is among the most significant figures in the religious history of Montana. He was a missionary in the northwest territory of Montana from 1845 until his death in 1884. Fr. Ravalli cared deeply about Montana’s Native Americans, who desired to have Christ in their lives. In 1841, Fr. Ravalli answered their call by establishing the Northwest’s first Catholic Church in what is now Stevensville, MT. Fr. Ravalli then spent the remainder of his life in Montana alongside the Salish Indians and early Montana pioneers. He died in 1884, and was buried at his own request alongside the Salish Indians in St. Mary’s Mission Parish Cemetery.
After Fr. Ravalli’s death, friends donated money to erect a twenty-two foot-high marble monument in the St. Mary’s Mission Parish cemetery to honor him. To prevent lichen from destroying the marble structure, the monument needed to be cleaned and refurbished by a specialist. The Montana History Foundation provided St. Mary’s Mission Parish a grant to clean and refurbish the lettering, pillars, and stone marker of the monument.