News Post

Students Enjoy Mission Trip to Navajo Nation

A group of St. Joseph’s Academy students spent the first week of June in Klagetoh, Arizona, working with the Navajo people on Saint Anne’s Mission. The trip to the desert southwest took place June 1-8.

The students embraced a variety of opportunities to serve the people of Navajo Nation, including painting a home, working on a sheep farm, planting a family vegetable garden and general cleanup and organization of several homes and at the mission site. 

Students also enjoyed mass, during which they sang in their own choir, and visiting with the local Navajo community. They traveled to Canyon de Chelly National Monument and Spider Rock. They visited the Navajo Nation museum, watched a skilled Navajo rug weaver, toured Our Lady of Fatima and participated in traditional Native American dancing in the town of Gallup, New Mexico. 

The students were accompanied by faculty members Nicole Lane and Valerie Brubaker.

“I enjoyed hearing the girls’ nightly reflections about what they had experienced that day and how they felt they had shared their gifts and strengths as they responded to the people of Navajo Nation,” Lane said. “The girls will forever hold fond memories of serving the dear neighbors, learning the history and culture of early indigenous tribes that lived in the area and the general way of life that is still embraced by the Navajo people, all while embracing the beauty of the continuously changing desert landscapes of the southwest.” 

Rising junior Juliana Barfield said it was particularly meaningful to witness the reactions of those being served. “Seeing the relief on their faces as they saw they didn’t have to worry about the tasks that were a burden to them was very rewarding,” Barfield said. “I also loved how well we all worked together and the systems we formed to get the jobs done. I loved seeing all the beautiful nature around us: the wild horses that were around, seeing the stars at night and the variety of landscapes within a couple miles of the mission.”

Barfield also enjoyed being immersed in the culture of the Navajo people. She said it was educational to hear stories of their histories and experiences. “Their lifestyle was very inspiring because although they live very simply, some without running water, they still seem to be so happy and fulfilled,” Barfield said. “I am very grateful to have been able to go on this mission trip.” 

Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Communications Director