Grants was originally known as Los Alamitos and was settled in 1864 by Don Jesus Maria Blea followed by Don Diego Antonio Chavez in 1882. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroads contracted with three brothers named Grant to build the railroad through this area going west. They established a base camp which became known as Grant’s Camp and in time shortened to Grants.
In 1911 the first Mass was celebrated in Grants by the remarkable Father Robert Kalt, known by everyone as “El Padre Roberto” at the home of don Jesus Maria Blea.
There was no church in Grants and the people usually attended Mass in San Rafael where Padre Roberto lived. Through his energetic leadership, construction started on a church in Grants in 1920 and was completed in 1923. It was dedicated to St. Teresa of Avila in a memorable ceremony by Archbishop Albert Daeger of Santa Fe.
El Padre Roberto was assigned to San Fidel which served as the parish church for this whole area including Grants, San Rafael and San Mateo. He came to Grants once a month until 1933 when Mass began weekly in Grants. The Catechist Sisters of Our Lady of Victory Knoll came in 1930 to assist Padre Roberto in teaching Catechism. In 1942 St.Teresa was designated a parish and the venerable and indestructible Padre Roberto was named its pastor. Construction of a rectory began that same year. Father Roberto lived in the bell tower of the church until its completion.
Under the leadership of Father Gerard Geier, OFM, a large solid stone community center was built in 1951 on a large tract of land donated by the Gunderson’s located about from the old St. Teresa’s church. With the large influx of people during the uranium boom, a large church was needed to accommodate the increasing Catholic population.
In 1959, while Father Austin Ernestes, OFM, was pastor of St. Teresa, a new church and rectory were constructed at the corner of High and Smith Streets.
The need for an elementary school became evident as Grants grew and the present school building was built in 1954 under the direction of Father Austin. St. Teresa’s Catholic School has graduated students now numbering in the thousands who have grown into leadership roles in the community and throughout the entire State of New Mexico.
St. Teresa, which is currently the largest parish in the area, is the center for such active organizations as the Knights of Columbus, Cursillistas, Searchers, C.C.D., St. Vincent de Paul Society, the School Board Third Order Charismatic group, Parent Teacher group, Legion of Mary, RCIA, Bible Study group, and other such activity groups. It is home of the Cibola Deanery, Western Cluster, and its pastor also has duties and authorities the Eastern Cluster of the Cibola Deanery.