Morning Fill Up with Bill White

Diocesan Vice-Postulator for Nicholas Black Elk Sr.’s Sainthood
Held December 20, 2018 at 7am at The Garage

Bill White is the diocesan vice-postulator of Nicholas Black Elk Sr.’s sainthood cause. He is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

In a conversation with Matt Ehlman PhD of The Numad Group, he’ll talk about his experience working with the Vatican gathering testimony about Black Elk’s life and virtues. He will also discuss the trip by the Vatican this fall to our region to speak with local advocates, including some who could testify to the reported miraculous powers of a man who both practiced traditional Lakota rituals and baptized more than 400 Native Americans.

Bill lives in Rockyford with his wife Terri. They have five children. He served in the South Dakota National Guard for over 38 years, and is veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom (we are all so thankful for his service). While in the National Guard, he worked to increase cultural awareness and diversity. He retired last year as a Chief Warrant Officer 4.

He also co-chaired the South Dakota Code Talker Ceremonies in 2016 and chaired the very first Golden Coyote Wacipi (Cultural Awareness Day) held on Camp Rapid June 2017.

After retirement, Bill went to work for the Catholic Church as pastor assistant at Christ the King Church in Porcupine. He and his wife are commissioned lay ministers, and he is currently in deacon formation in Rapid City. Last year, he was appointed as vice-postulator of the cause for the canonization of Black Elk.

Black Elk is considered someone who merged the Lakota and Catholic culture in ways that drew him deeper into the mystery of Christ’s love and the church. His life as a dedicated catechist, spiritual leader and guide inspired many to live for Christ by his own story. He was born sometime between 1858 and 1866 and died in 1950.

Last year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gave unanimous consent to begin the canonization cause for Black Elk. With the formal opening of his cause, he now has the title “servant of God.”

News coverage

“In The Moment with Bill White”, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, December 20, 2018
“Black Elk's canonization would take at least 15 years, speaker says”, Rapid City Journal, December 20, 2018