Restoration Project

What's Happening Now
Summer 2011

Fr. Albert's Story is finally out!
This is a great book!
You can order one from us for $33 (See our donation page), or shop online at:
Book Jacket for:
Father Albert Braun, O.F.M., 1889-1983
Last of the Frontier Priests
Fellow priests called his ministry “just short of a miracle.” A superior in his order castigated him as “just an adventurer.” The Apaches claimed him "one of us”; migrant Mexican workers swore he was a saint. To his comrades-in-combat he was “a man's man” and when necessary “a rascal.” To all he was “a real character.” Of himself he said grinning, “I've been in trouble all my life.” (Once, denied permission to raze a crumbling adobe church to build a new one, he filled the cracks with blasting powder, reported a mysterious explosion - and got his permission.)
He was Father Albert Braun, OFM, a priest by the accident of a boyhood prank, or a bit of divine irony. He was mule headed when crossed, explosive when aroused, penitent when necessary. He despised hypocrisy, bureaucracy, and idleness, and he spoke his mind with vigor. He once charged a group of august bishops to “get off your butts and out among the people.” His driving was terrible; so was his spelling - thought he spoke five languages and always thought in Latin “because that covers everything.” His sense of duty was profound, his humor contagious. In the worst straits he could always laugh. He lived in epochal times, watched history happen, and rushed to join the march.
Missionary to the Mescalero Apaches, he arrived in still-frontier New Mexico on the heels of Pancho Villa's raid. As combat chaplain in both World Wars he was highly decorated for valor in battle. Between wars he rode the reservation's rugged terrain with businessmen, 'bought' church property to prevent the Marxist Calles regime from confiscating it, worked with the underground, tippled happily with the Mexican officers from whom they were avoiding capture, and relished every cloak-sans-dagger moment. He hosted exiled Mexican seminarians at Mescalero, paying for their food and housing with salary earned as chaplain for the far-flung camps of the CCC - extra duty whose hundreds of miles he shrugged off as "insignificant!" - his favorite epithet. Simultaneously he built, almost single-handedly, the great stone church soon known as 'the Apache cathedral' - all despite the Great Depression.
Captured on Corregidor during World War II, he spent three and a half years as a Japanese POW, stole food for his starving men - so adeptly they dubbed him 'Al Capone.' Risky, but "I learned from the Apaches how to steal and not get caught." When a vicious guard rushed at him with a steel-tipped pole, the padre prayed to St. Joseph to send American planes "and blast this damn place off the face of the earth." Apparently St. Joseph heard: the padre ducked just in time, the guard went sprawling, and the air-raid sirens began to shriek. After the war, as chaplain for the top-secret Operation Sandstone on Eniwetok atoll, he was party to the birth of the first hydrogen bomb.
Bell Tower Work for the summer
Left to right Martin Pizarro, Sam Sosa, Nikona Hosetosavit & Tommy Spottedbird
St. Joseph Apache Mission Parish Annual Raffle is in full swing
It's not too late to get tickets: Call 575-464-4473 Drawing is June 5 $1.00 Donation
Thanks for visiting our “What's Happening Now?” page.
If you have any questions or comments we'd love to hear from you!
Email us at

St. Joseph Apache Mission Restoration Project
* PO Box 187 * 626 Mission Trail *
Mescalero, NM 88340

Parish Office: 575-464-4473
Restoration Office: 575-464-4539