SAN FIDEL, N.M. (KRQE) – During his six years as Principal of St. Joseph Mission School in San Fidel, NM, Antonio Trujillo has watched the school grow from a dozen students to more than 60 today from Acoma, Laguna, and nearby villages. He loves the work, but he didn’t start out seeking a career in education.
“I’ve been blessed with each chapter of my life,” Says Trujillo.
After graduating from Grants High School Trujillo became a Franciscan priest. He lived that life of devotion for nearly 20 years, eventually serving the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos.
“I loved the priesthood… it was amazing to be involved in the lives of so many different people and families,” Trujillo reflects.
Trujillo was helping raise money for the St. Joseph Mission School east of Grants, when he fell in love.
After 17 years of service to the Catholic Church, Trujillo made the tough decision to leave the priesthood, and open a new chapter in his life.
“It was painful and it was hard and it was a lot of growing up,” Trujillo explains.
Soon after he left the priesthood Trujillo and his new wife Lucinda started a winery just up the hill from St. Joseph Mission School. After years of hard work, their wines were winning medals in California and New York.
Trujillo had a new wife and a successful winery, when a new love came into his life, one he could not ignore.
“I would just hear the kids on the playground… and it just warmed my heart, and all of a sudden I found myself working so hard to keep it open,” Trujillo remembers of his days at St. Joseph Mission School.
He left wine making behind to become the Principal of a Catholic school that is rich with the Laguna and Acoma cultures.
“In their traditional way it’s all about respect, it’s all about wonder, it’s all about being connected to mother earth. And in the… Catholic tradition it’s about the same thing. It’s about respect, it’s about love of neighbor, it’s about having God in your life.”
Trujillo emphasizes that education is only part of what St. Joseph Mission School hopes to achieve.
Says Trujillo, “It’s a place of formation. A formation of the heart, of the mind, and of the attitudes that will come from that.”
After decades in the Church and the vineyard, Trujillo has finally found his true calling: the children.
“One thing they’ll tell you is they understand that they are light to the world, if they love each other and love others. And if they leave (St. Joseph Mission School) with that sense, everything else will come to them.”