Volume 3: Western United States
New Mexico: NM-59

St. Bonaventure Mission and School
44 Navarre Boulevard West
P.O. Box 610
Thoreau, NM 87323

Phone: 505-862-7847
Email: See website (Contact)


St. Bonaventure School Office
8 Lenore Avenue
P.O. Box 909
Thoreau, NM 87323

Phone: 505-862-7465


History: St. Bonaventure Mission and School, Thoreau, Navajo Nation, New Mexico, has been a predominantly Native American (Navajo) parish and school in the Diocese of Gallup (Archives: Gallup, New Mexico).


Franciscans (St. John the Baptist Province) (Archives: Cincinnati, Ohio; archives bulk: St. Michaels, Arizona, and Tucson, Arizona) established and administered St. Valerian Mission (Navajo), Smith Lake


Santa Fe archdiocesan priests administered St. Valerian’s


Gallup diocesan priests administered St. Valerian’s


St. Valerian Mission relocated to Thoreau and renamed St. Bonaventure Mission


Franciscans at St. Paul’s, Crownpoint, attended to St. Bonaventure


Gallup diocesan priests have administered St. Bonaventure Mission


Rev. Douglas A. McNeill established St. Bonaventure School/ Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Academy (Navajo), which has developed into a pre-kindergarten-eighth grade school staffed by lay teachers

1986-2001 (closed)

St. Bonaventure School established and administered a high school


St. Bonaventure School was incorporated


St. Bonaventure Mission has provided a community thrift store/food pantry, housing assistance, and home water delivery


Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate (Archives London, England) teach religious education at the school

Gallup diocesan priests at St. Bonaventure attended to the following Navajo Indian missions in New Mexico:

1974-1990s (closed)

Smith Lake Mission, Smith Lake, McKinley County

1977-1994 (transferred to St. Paul’s, Crownpoint)

Risen Savior Mission, Bluewater, Cibola County


Holdings of Catholic records about Native Americans:

Inclusive dates: ca. 1890s-present 

Volume: Over 3 cubic feet

Description: The records at St. Bonaventure School were not arranged according to a classification scheme when reviewed by a Marquette University archivist, 2006. Consequently, the records are divided by location and there under by record type. 


Administration Center:

/1 Administrative Records

Inclusive dates: ca. 1982-ongoing

Volume: Undetermined 

Description: Correspondence, annual reports, and publications for St. Bonaventure School. The quarterly newsletter, “Mission Messenger” is archived online, 2017-present.


/2 Sacramental Records

Inclusive dates: 1890s-present

Volume: Over 1 cubic foot

Description: Sacramental records (e.g. baptisms, marriages, burials) for Native American parishioners of St. Bonaventure/ St. Valerian Mission. For more records pertaining to St. Bonaventure Mission and School, see the guide entries for the Diocese of Gallup. Archives, Gallup, New Mexico, and St. Paul Church, Crownpoint, New Mexico.


School Office:

/3 Student Records

Inclusive dates: 1985-ongoing

Volume: Over 1 cubic foot

Description: Student cumulative files, grades 7-8, 1985-present, approximately .5 cubic foot; and transcripts, grades 9-12, 1985-2001, .75 cubic foot.


Unless otherwise noted, the repository on this page holds (or held) the records described here and they are not held at the Marquette University Archives.