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St. Christopher's Mission

Historic Site
Hiking St Christopher's Canyon – Edwin Schrenk

ADA Accessibility Notes

Not ADA accessible. Grounds are sandy and trails rocky.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, St. Christopher's Mission was established with the construction of a log Mission House in 1943. It is located 1.7 miles east of Bluff, Utah on Utah Highway 162. In 1942, H. Baxter Leibler (1889-1982), founder of St. Saviour's Episcopal Church in Old Greenwich, Connecticut traveled through the region by horseback and burro. He chose Bluff as his base from which to visit the then isolated Dineh (Navajo) people. He named the new mission after the patron saint of travelers because he felt supported in his travels by the Bluff residents. Before arriving in southeast Utah, Father Liebler studied the Navajo language and continued to work at making his message comprehensible to the Dineh and compatible with their understanding of harmony. He participated in Navajo ceremonies and wore his hair long and pulled back and wrapped in the traditional Navajo style. Father Liebler spent 19 years at St. Christopher's Mission. When he retired, he moved to Oljee'To (Ole Jay' Toe) but started again by founding St. Mary of the Moonlight as a mission out-station. Liebler died there at the age of 93.

St. Christopher's Mission was the first medical facility to treat tuberculosis and trachoma among the Navajo in Utah. By 1950, a medical facility was formally established and treated nearly 300 outpatients a month. A medical clinic building was constructed in 1956 and during the years it operated, an estimated 500 babies were born there. School and summer programs were conducted at the Mission and summer recreaton and Bible camps continue.

Today, the Mission House Common Room is the center of social gatherings, meetings, and receptions. A food bank, chapel, and resource center all operate at the Mission. The original log church was destroyed by fire in 1964 and was replaced by a unique pyramidal building. The Mission Museum offers insight into the Mission's history, including the story of the first Navajo Episcopal Bishop, Stephen Plummer, who continued the church's mandate to enrigh their message with the spriitual treasures of the Navajo culture. The grounds also include a gift shop and a community farm. The Mission supports the Bluff Arts Festival each fall by sponsoring an Art Fair featuring regional Navajo fine arts and crafts.

Pet Friendly Notes

Area is open range, and sheep herded on the grounds. Dogs are welcome but should be on leash.

Time Period Represented

1250 CE - present

Hours

Sunday thru Saturday, 8am-8pm, Museum upon request

Seasons Open

Year round

Pricing

Price Style for this Establishment

none

Free tours and guided hikes.