St. Ignatius, Montana Amish Hold Auction After One-Year Break

Last month we got a report and photos of the West Kootenai Amish auction (Rexford, MT). This latest report is from another Montana settlement well-known for its auction – the one at St. Ignatius. This single-church-district settlement is the Treasure State’s second oldest, having come into existence back in 1997. We’ve seen stories on this community before – including on the settlement’s Mission General Store, Amish here helping the local ambulance service with a special benefit sale, and an unusual story on backcountry skiers among the Amish in this community.

Image: Karen Greene/Ronan, MT Valley Journal

Article author Karen Greene has a great set of photos from the latest annual benefit auction, which you can see in full at the Valley Journal site here. Some interesting points from this article:

  • It costs the Amish about $30,000 per year to run the school in the St. Ignatius community, which serves an average of 25 students. I would think the biggest chunk of that would be teacher salary or salaries, with some money for maintenance and operating the school (heating, etc.). How does that stack up to other communities? In plainer settlements at least, you would expect the operating costs to be lower, in part due to lower teacher salaries.
  • Last year the auction was canceled due to COVID. In its place, Amish volunteered to build a house. Part of the proceeds from its sale were used to fund the Amish school.
  • One positive that came out of the pandemic was an increase in construction projects for the Amish: “Everyone was staying home and decided to remodel their house, put in new cabinets or buy a shed, so we have been really busy with things like that,” said auction organizer Marty Miller. However he emphasized he would have rather not had the pandemic.
  • Miller suggested they may have had a record crowd at this year’s event. I don’t think there are any numbers to confirm that, though it wouldn’t be surprising with two years of pent-up local auction demand.

Here are a couple more photos. Amish women and others under one of the auction tents:

Image: Karen Greene/Ronan, MT Valley Journal

Beautiful setting:

Image: Karen Greene/Ronan, MT Valley Journal

View them all here.

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