The beloved father, whose scholarly attainments have given him a place among the thinkers of the country, Rev. Lawrence Benedict Palladino, was born in Dilecto, a small village in the Appenines, about thirty miles from Genoa, Italy, on the 15th of August, 1837. His parents were Julius and Magdalene (Recci) Palladino, who lived and died in their Italian country. After a course of private instruction at home, Father Palladino entered the Petit Seminaire at Genoa. Owing to the fact that his health was not robust, he was sent to the diocese of Tortoro, to continue his studies at Stazzlus. He early decided to take holy orders, and in 1855 entered the Society of Jesus as a novice. His philosophical studies were conducted in Italy and at Felkirch in the German Tyrol. For his course in theology, he went to Lyons, France, completing his course at Monaco. He was ordained at Nice in 1863, and the same year was sent to California to be professor Latin and Greek at St. Ignatius' College in San Francisco. From here Reverend Palladino was sent to Santa Clara and until 1867 was minister in the college in that city, leaving it in that year to engage in missionary work in the Flathead country of Montana.
For four years, Father Palladino was in charge of the St. Ignatius Mission on the reservation, and then in 1871 was sent to Helena, where he labored until 1887, when he was recalled to St. Ignatius Mission, and was given charge of the work there and also of the Missoula valley. From this post, he was again sent to Helena, remaining six years this time, when he was called to Spokane to be president of Gonzaga College. He held this position one term and then was transferred to Seattle for one year. For the following eight years, he had charge of the parish of Missoula, and after a few years in Idaho and North Yakima, Washington, he was sent back to this city in 1910, to become assistant pastor in the parish in which he had so endeared himself in previous years.
Father Palladino has been active in literary pursuits as well as in the duties of his priestly office. One of his most interesting works is "Indian and White in the Northwest." It is a masterly presentation of the achievements of the two races in the region, printed in an octovo volume. The first edition of the book is about exhausted, and the second is in preparation. In addition to this valuable historical work, Father Palladino has been a frequent contributor to the magazines and has written a number of devotional works. As a writer, he is clear and forceful in style, and these qualities also characterize him as a speaker. He has made a careful study of the early history of the Northwest, and is a recognized authority on Indian history. He was for some ten or twelve years vicar general in the diocese of Helena under Bishop Bronder.
The work of the early missionaries of the church among the Indians deserves a volume in itself. Men of the highest attainments in scholarship and of the finest culture, cheerfully gave the best years of their lives to the work of uplifting the aborigines, and one of the men who has done much in this field is Father Palladino. Characteristically, he gives the praise to his order, and claims no personal credit for his years of sacrifice and toil. From the earliest beginnings of Montana history, there have been priests who have lived the life of sacrifice, and who have consecrated themselves to the service of the race: "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer, distributing to the necessities of the saints, given to hospitality," and it is to this noble band of valiant souls that Father Palladino belongs. He felt it no hardship to leave the college work for which his training and intellect had so admirably fitted him, and to go among the savages, and truly the fruits of that ministry have justified the sacrifice. Father Palladino is spending his declining years among the people who love him, and who appreciate the achievements of his noble life, and who enjoy the charm of his genial, modest and lovable presence.
Extracted from "A History of Montana" Volume II; Helen Fitzgerald Sanders; copyright 1913; pages 1031-1032