Faith and Mission

Santa Teresa Immersion

Santa Teresa

The Santa Teresa Immersion offers our students the richness and uniqueness of Arrernte Aboriginal culture, artwork, spirituality and language and to celebrate this culture. The Immersion has elements of social justice, with our awareness being raised to the injustices faced by Aboriginal people in Central Australia.

Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte) is 80km from Alice Springs with approximately 500 people who speak Eastern Arrernte and English. There is a K-Year 9 school in the community run by the NT Catholic Education Office. It offers a bilingual method of Education with lessons in both Arrernte and English. The community has AFL ovals, a swimming pool, a Recreation Club, Spirituality Centre, Store, Op Shop, a Women’s Centre, Health Centre, local Government Office, Police Station and Church. Daily Mass is held either in the Church or in people’s homes. The community is known for it’s cohesiveness and is alive with customs of Arrernte culture, language and spirituality. This is a self-sufficient community that does not require charity (or Community Service) and Avila is committed to developing a friendship.

What is the intended purpose of Avila’s Santa Teresa Immersion?

  • For participants to learn and listen in order to foster a greater understanding of Aboriginal cultures and uphold Avila’s commitment to Reconciliation through learning from a positive living example of contemporary Indigenous Australia
  • To gain an appreciation of Anangu people, their spirituality and connection to the land - in particular at the Uluru and Kata Tjuta National Park
  • To continue Avila College’s commitment to reconciliation and to retain connections formed with the community in the 1980s
  • To provide opportunities for students to show independence, resilience and be self-governing.

What experiences are essential elements of Avila’s Santa Teresa Immersion?

  • Participation and engagement with local organisations such as the Women’s Centre, Health Centre, Spirituality Centre, the Parish and School
  • Participate in Arrernte language and culture classes
  • Planting of indigenous plants in a sustainability project at the Alice Springs Desert Farm 
  • Visit to the Alice Springs Desert Park
  • Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre visit and talk by Anangu Elder
  • Walk around base of Uluru and Valley of Winds walk, Kata Tjuta
  • Visit local sights around Alice Springs (Telegraph Station, ANZAC Hill, Simpsons Gap, Ellery Big Hole, and if applicable Alice Springs Desert Festival events)
  • isee ilearn seminar regarding the importance of the interconnection between Arrernte language, culture and the land 
  • Painting alongside women at Spirituality Centre, Santa Teresa
  • Discussion and making bush medicines at Akeylurre, Alice Springs (connection with the Gorey & Vadivaloo families which are a part of Avila’s history)
  • ‘Out bush’ with elders, the Brothers and the Gorey family (who came to Avila College)
  • Visit to Art Centres, Exhibitions and talks with Art Dealers - Papunya Tula Artists, Desert Mob Exhibition, Keringke Arts.