Founded in 1955

The Villa Santa Maria was originally founded in 1955 as an orphanage by the Reverend Monsignor Bernard M. Burns who established it as a private, non-profit, charitable organization with no religious affiliation. Over the years, the Villa’s commitment to quality, modern care has aided thousands of children and their families with ever growing services. In 1998 the Villa revolutionized their approach when the management chose to base their clinical practice on Attachment Theory, specifically in regards to early childhood emotional development and affect regulation.


The Villa Santa Maria is located seven miles east of Albuquerque, NM, in the majestic Sandia Mountains and situated within the rural San Antonio de Padua, a Spanish settlement dating back to 1819. Through this land flows the Acequia de Madre, a narrow irrigation canal that historically served local Pueblo Indians, Apache bands, traders, and even Union soldiers. This beautiful area was used in the filming of the 1940 classic “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Ford. One arrives at the Villa property by way of NM Highway 14, called the Turquoise Trail and still commonly referred to by the locals as the “back way” to Santa Fe.

Villa Santa Maria Sketch
The Villa's First Building
Vision for Youth
Original Entrance
Preparing Meals
Banquet for Kids
Early Library
Home Environment
Orignal Home for Boys
Msgr Burns Article
Monsigneur Burns in Memoriam
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Accreditations / Certifications


  • AdvancED

  • Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation

  • California Dpartment of Eucation Non-Public School Certification

  • New Mexico Public Education Department

  • New Mexico Children Youth & Families Department

  • Certified Attachment-Focused Organization




Becker-Weidman, A. & Shell D.  (2005). Creating Capacity for Attachment:  Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Trauma-Attachment Disorders.  Oklahoma City, OK:  Wood ‘N’ Barnes Publishing & Distribution


Professional Organizations




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