Healy lies at the mouth of Healy Creek on the Nenana River, 78 miles southwest of Fairbanks. It is located on a 2.5-mile spur road, just north of the entrance to the Denali National Park and Preserve on the George Parks Highway, at mile 358.1 on the Alaska Railroad.
Because of its proximity to Mt. McKinley Healy has a seasonal tourist trade, but is basically a rail belt coal mining community. Its roots lie 3.5 miles east of today's town site in an early 1900's mining camp called Suntrana, now generally known as Usibelli Coal Mine.
Likewise, today's Holy Mary of Guadalupe parish has its roots in the Suntrana-Healy area. In the early 1950's priests began making infrequent visits to the area. By the mid-1950's Bishop Francis Gleeson, S.J. visited Suntrana twice a month, travelling there from Fairbanks by train or plane. In 1957 construction on a church building began. The interior was still not finished, when a Jesuit priest celebrated Easter Mass there in 1959. This first church was named "St. Mary's."
In the 1960's a road was "punched through" from Nenana to Healy. It was reportedly not much more than a "tundra trail" at first, but it began an era of growth and expansion. People began settling in Healy's present site and in the 1970's people in Suntrana began moving there from the original camp. The road also made the Suntrana-Healy community more accessible to priests stationed in Nenana. As the coal mining community grew, so did the Catholic community. A bigger church was needed in the new town site.
Around 1980, the Bishop assigned the task of building a new church to a Diocesan building committee spearheaded by a Jesuit priest. Bishop Whelan dedicated the new church on May 30, 1982 under the title of Holy Mary of Guadalupe, thus fulfilling a promise the Jesuit priest made at the Shrine to Holy Mary of Guadalupe in Mexico to build a church in her honor. The original St. Mary's Church in Suntrana was eventually sold and moved to Healy where it was converted into a private home.
Visiting Jesuit and Diocesan priests continued to serve Healy along with other small communities on the "rail belt" like Cantwell, Anderson, Denali National Park (summers) and Clear Air Force Base until 1996 when a Diocesan priest made Healy his headquarters. A Dominican Sister served as Pastoral Administrator on the "rail belt" from 1989 -1991, during which time she encouraged lay participation, training several lay leaders in different areas of ministry. After she left, Ms. Barbara Walters was appointed Pastoral Administrator for the Healy parish. She still serves in that capacity. A Diocesan priest is Healy's current pastor.