Mission Santa Clara de Asis

From Academic Kids

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Mission Santa Clara de Asís circa 1910.

Mission Santa Clara de Asís was founded on January 12, 1777 by Father Junípero Serra, the eighth in the California mission chain. It was named for Saint Clare of Assisi, the founder of the order of the Poor Clares, making it the first California mission to be named for a woman. It is located in the city of Santa Clara, California, on the campus of Santa Clara University. The Mission in its heyday boasted the largest Indian population of any in California.

A secondary mission site, Mission Santa Clara de Thamien, was established at the Indian village of So-co-is-u-ka by Franciscan Padres Tomás de la Peña and Joseph Antonio Marguia on January 17, 1777. There they erected a cross and shelter for worship to bring Christianity to the Costanoan tribe. Floods and earthquakes damaged many of the early structures.

Initially, there was tension between the people of Mission Santa Clara de Asís and those in the nearby Pueblo de San Jose over disputed ownership rights of land and water. The tension was relieved when a road, the Alameda, was built by two hundred Indians to link the communities together. On Sundays, people from San Jose would come to the mission for services, until the building of St. Joseph's Church in 1803.

In 1850, California became a U.S. state and the Jesuit order of priests took over the Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Father John Nobili, S.J., was put in charge of the Mission. He began a college on the Mission site in 1851, which grew into Santa Clara University. It is the only mission to become part of a university, and it is also the oldest university in California. Throughout the history of the Mission, the bells have rung faithfully every evening. This was a promise made to King Charles IV of Spain when he sent the original bells to the mission in 1777. He asked that the bells be rung each evening at 8:30 in memory of those who had died.

Mission Santa Clara de Asís sits on the campus of the Santa Clara University. As St. Clare Parish, it continues to serve as an active parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose, and as the home of the Diocese's Chinese Catholic Community. It is open to visitors and has a museum on the campus.

Historic designations

  • California Historic Landmark #250 - Old sites of Mission Santa Clara de Asís and the Old Spanish Bridge
  • California Historic Landmark #338

See also

External links

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Looking toward the altar of the exquisitely-ornate Mission Santa Clara de Asís chapel, circa 1897.
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