On September 23, 2016 yet another Ravalli family member stepped foot on the grounds at Historic St. Mary's Mission. Guglielmo Ravalli, Carlo's son and also originally from Ferrara, Italy, traveled from New York City where he currently lives with his wife and children. He was the featured guest and speaker at the 175th Anniversary Commemoration of the founding of what was to become Stevensville in the future state of Montana and was also a special guest at the Montana Historical Society Conference.
Following is an excerpt of the speech he gave at the Commemoration in honor of his relative, Fr. Ravalli:
"Visiting St. Mary's mission yesterday was for me a very special and touching experience. I immediately felt the hardship and the challenges of those early days, but I also felt how significant was the contribution of those extraordinary individuals who dedicated their lives to the people living in this region.
"I wish I could have come here telling you that in the Ravalli family we are all like Father Anthony. That it is all in the genes... "Don't get me wrong, we are good people, some intelligent, many highly educated; engineers, doctors, architects, artists. The difference is that Antonio Ravalli combined all those skill and competences in only one man.
"He arrived in this place when he was more or less my age. He came from Italy, from Ferrara, my hometown, with only a trunk, his brains and an enormous heart.
"He built his own tools, he designed and erected this church, he healed suffering people, he contributed to deploy agriculture in the region. And am I forgetting many more of his achievements. What else can one accomplish in a lifetime?
"Even more remarkably, Father Anthony dedicated himself, he gave himself, to the physical and mental well-being of complete strangers.
"This was his choice, his real purpose in life. And I am delighted to be here today to honor his memory as one of the founding fathers.
"Tomorrow morning I will travel back to my wife and my children and besides showing them pictures of the tepee tents (for which they will get extremely excited), I will tell them what a great man Antonio Ravalli was and what fantastic friends he managed to connect us with here in Montana, almost two centuries later."
Our sincere thanks go out to Guglielmo for having taken the time to join in the Founder's Day festivities. His visit, though brief, was the highlight of the Celebration of the Founding of Stevensville 175 years ago.