Saturday, October 26, 2019


Another missionary who had an impact on peoples in our own Southwest  was FATHER  ANTON DOCHER a French Franciscan born in 1852, who served as a missionary to Native Americans in New Mexico.

Following academic studies and years of military service, in 1887 Father Anton traveled to the United States, where he was first assigned to the Cathedral of Santa Fe for a few years and was ordained. He worked briefly at Taos, before being assigned to the Pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico, where he served for 34 years until his death.

Respected by the Isleta for his open-minded attitude to their customs and ancestral faiths, Father Anton was called Tashide, which means "little helper" in Tewa language. He was known for owning a parrot named Tina, which used very foul language.

Father Docher raised an Isletan orphan boy named Tomas Chavez. When Tomas married Lolita Delores, Father Docher gave the couple five acres and a house in Los Lunas as a wedding gift. Tomas developed a vineyard on this land and supplied wine to the Isleta and local churches. Unfortunately, he died in 1925, three years before Father. His widow Lolita Delores was left with nine children. Father Docher paid for the children’s schooling.

Father on left, Tomas on right

Father Anton became a naturalized
United States citizen. Close to the people he served, he referred to himself as an "Indian" in the letters which he sent to his family in France.

Suffering a long illness, Father Anton lived the last three years of his life as a patient at the St Joseph Hospital (Albuquerque), where he died at the age of 76 on December 18, 1928.

In front of his house with bee hives

Willa Cather
 used him as a model for her protagonist Padre Jesus de Baca in her novel "Death Comes for the Archbishop" (1927). She visited him shortly before his death.

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