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A common sight around the area, as ranchers continue to raise horses and cattle as in days long gone.
The desert can be a brutal place to live. This guy's luck ran out.
Gallup was founded as a railhead in the late 1800s, and the trains still roll through carrying freight and livestock across the country.
Red Rock. A massive mesa about 10 minutes from Villa Guadalupe.
A statue St. Joseph holding Jesus overlooks Villa Guadalupe from a hill just above the residence.
Down about 25 miles west on Rt. 66 of the Continental Divide is Gallup, y'all.
Rand McNally actually gave Gallup the title "Most Patriotic Small Town in America" ...
... and it's not hard to believe. On Memorial Day a group of Veterans raise a huge flag in honor of those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice.
Many Native American veterans stand side by side with their brothers and sisters in arms.
And a salute ...
... to the flag and what it represents.
Meanwhile, the Villa Guadalupe Chapel at the residence prepares for Mass.
Maxi stands at the ready to make sure that anyone who enters is properly inspected ... and licked.
The curious and mysterious convent cat (didn't catch his name ... he probably wanted it that way)
Father Kevin Finnegan of St. John Vianney Parish and Father Hugh O' Neil (Retired) concelebrate Mass at the Villa Guadalupe Chapel. Physical and age challenges do not stop the two priests from performing the most important duty before them, bringing Christ to his people in the Eucharist.
In the Chapel: St. Jeanne Jugan, foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor
Also in the Chapel: St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint.
The tabernacle in the chapel, made by the Navajo. Inside is a gold-lined box containing the Blessed Sacrament.
Near the altar in the chapel are photos in memory of friends who were residents, who made the final journey home.
The 93-year-old resident, Edwin, flanked by his godmother, Sister Fatima, receives the sacrament of Baptism at the Villa Guadalupe Chapel.
Father Michael shakes Edwin's hand to welcome and congratulate him after his baptism.
A priest raises the Blessed Sacrament before Communion. (The tapestry behind the altar is also Navajo.)
Sr. Lizeth shares a laugh with one of the Native American ladies at lunchtime.
More than 50 residents, along with the workers, volunteers and Sisters, make up the entire family of Villa Guadalupe. Together they share in caring for one another and providing for each other's needs through the challenges that they each face.
The Sisters, workers and volunteers work together as a team to serve lunch restaurant-style, taking requests and serving healthy and delicious meals as efficiently as any high-end NYC restaurant.
Happy Birthday, Francis! Birthdays are a big deal at Villa Guadalupe, complete with candles, cake and singing!
Luby, who recently celebrated her 103rd birthday, spends some quality time with Sister Fatima.
A young volunteer spends some time with one of the residents.
Mother Rosario and Sister Lizeth, along with some volunteers, share a laugh about the construction of one of the many props to be used for their 1st Annual Gala event.
The “Celebration of Life” Gala celebrates the life and legacy of St Jeanne Jugan, foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose 225th anniversary of birth and baptism was commemorated that evening. It was also to honor the life of our elders to whom Jeanne Jugan devoted her life.
94-year-old Sami Strongbull-Daniels, half Cheyenne and the unofficial artist-in residence, holds her collection of brushes like the precious tools that they are.She spends her days creating pottery, jewelry and paintings that she sells to help support the Little Sisters.
I ended up spending over an hour just listening to her speak of her art, her children, her life in the mountains of Colorado, her time in the military, where she worked on the engines of the Marauders and painted the nose art on many of the planes, before marrying and raising 4 boys and 3 girls, before entering the residence where she now resides. Each resident has a story; this is just one.
Therapy dogs love to hang around with the residents, sometimes looking for a pat on the head ... or just to take a nap.
Sofie, with her heart of gold, has a little chat with the dogs.
Father Hugh O'Neill, retired priest and resident at Villa Guadalupe, is an integral member of their faith family. He celebrates Mass and hears confessions, not only of the residents, but of many area priests who make it a point to seek him out for the sacrament. When Father Hugh answered the call to the priesthood he left behind a career in New York as a journalist. He felt a call to serve the Native American community and came to New Mexico where he served in the Diocese of Gallup for many years, working with the Navajo.
Sister Mary Williams jokes around with one of the residents about whether or not she is going to dance at the Gala!
Sister Lizeth takes a moment to pet Maxi, the mascot and guard dog of Villa Guadalupe. Maxi spends most of her day around the front door greeting people as they enter ... when she's not chasing the resident cat.
Sister Lizeth gets ready to start taking photos for the newsletter with her shiny new camera!
Animal therapy contributes a great deal to the happiness of the residents. The Navajo woman in this picture smiled wider with Zee than most of the other times that I saw her.
90-year-old resident Juan spends his day outdoors working the grounds with his hands, planting, trimming, growing and building, helping to keep the the place as beautiful outside as it is inside.
Sister Mary takes her time walking and speaking with one of the residents. No one is lonely at Villa Guadalupe. It has the feel of a giant family, each with a story to tell.
The Little Sisters of our Villa Guadalupe: (L-R) Sister Christine, Mother Rosario, Sister Mary Williams, Sister Lizeth. Representing China, Peru, the Philippines, Africa and the USA.