Thirteen members of the Class of 2018, accompanied by Villa history teacher Mrs. Mary Anastasi and parent Mrs. Kathy Touey-Doyle, visited St. Mary’s Mission in Tohatchi, NM to serve the local community, and learn about the Navajo people. The mission is located in the Gallup Diocese, one of the poorest in the U.S.
The girls’ primary focus was helping to refurbish the Community Hall for the parish by painting and cleaning the facility. They also interacted with several community speakers who shared their history with the girls. Their personal stories and experiences served to educate the students about what the Navajo people have endured, and how much they value their culture and tradition.
Mrs. Anastasi reflected on the value of the summer trip, noting that the girls gained at least as much as they gave. “It was invigorating to watch our girls work hard to help improve conditions at St. Mary’s for the people and Sisters who minister to them,” she said. “The most uplifting memories I will cherish are the times that the girls spent listening to and learning about the cultural experiences of the Navajo People. They were always eager to learn something new about the people they were there to help. What a special gift to have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and learn firsthand about the struggles of the past and the challenges that they face today.”
“Hopefully all of us will value that special experience and continue to be mindful of the service needs of so many people around the world, and especially in our own country,” Mrs. Anastasi said. “As a teacher of United States history, I can not think of a better way to learn than through this unique personal journey that each one of us shared. The Navajo people made us feel so welcome and they appreciated our help and our desire to learn their story.”