Fr. Gregory Mengarini,  S.J.

    Born in Rome on July 21, 1811, Gregory Mengarini entered the Society of Jesus in 1828.  Finishing his religious studies, he served as an instructor in grammar in Rome, Modena, and Reggio for several years.
    Mengarini's desire to serve in the Rocky Mountain Mission began with an appeal by Bishop Joseph rosati of St. Louis, Missouri who gave a lecture while visiting Rome.  Selected by the General of the Society because of his virtues, great facility with languages, and knowledge of medicine and music, Mengarini arrived tin the United States in 1840.  A year later he left St. Louis with a party headed by Peter DeSmet, S.J. and helped to found the first mission among the Flathead Indians in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana (St. mary's) in the fall of that year.  mengarini stayed at St. Mary's until 1850, after which he spent two years in Oregon before going to California in 1852 to help found santa Clara College, where he served until his death on September 23, 1886.
    Mengarini was noted for his skills in both medicine and herbalism.  A first rate scholar, he contributed articles to several ethnographical and anthropological journals in the United States.  In addition to his knowledge of Latin and Greek, he was fluent in Italian, French and Spanish.  His contributions to the Flathead (Kalispel) language provided a solid foundation for further studies by other missionaries, for the Indians claimed that he understood it as well as, if not better than, they. 

Excerpt from the "Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Oregon Province Archives of the Society of Jesus Indian Language Collection: The Pacific Northwest Tribes". Copy write, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, 1976