We are so very fortunate to have several beautiful Catholic Missions, founded by the Franciscans beginning in the 1700s, in and near to Silicon Valley. I’ll list the closest ones but all are within an hour or ninety minutes of the San Jose – Palo Alto area.
- Mission Santa Clara
- Mission San Jose (Fremont)
- Mission Santa Cruz
- Mission San Juan Bautista (Hollister)
- Mission Carmel
- Mission Dolores (San Francisco)
Today we’ll focus on the first one, and in later posts we will “visit” the rest.
Mission Santa Clara, named after St. Clare of Assisi, Italy, can be found at the heart of Santa Clara University (one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S.), which is only about a mile from the Norman Mineta San Jose International Airport. Like several other missions, this one is not the original construction nor in its original location. Suffering from floods, fires and earthquakes, the mission was relocated and rebuilt a few times but with the last remodeling, this sixth church was made to capture much of the original styling.
This gracious mission serves as the university’s student chapel, is open to the public for viewing and for Mass attendance. (Check Mass times via link below. On holidays such as Easter and Christmas the times get juggled to allow 2 Masses so the usual schedule can change.)
The de Saisset Museum, just a few steps away on the SCU campus, houses some Mission artifacts and is the Mission’s museum too, in addition to other historic and art pieces to enjoy. Admission is free.
The art in this beautiful church is remarkable, as is much of the history. Please find a link to a self-guided walking tour below. It’s very worthwhile to take the time and take in the history and prayerful atmosphere of this special place.
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95050-4345