Mission San Jose, San Antonio, TX

Jun 07

Mission San Jose, San Antonio, TX

Mission San Jose is part of the National Park System. It’s one of five missions set near San Antonio with the most famous mission being what’s known today as the Alamo. We started our mission journey here because the visitor’s center for the National Park Service is here and they have a 20 minute video about the indigenous people here and how they came to live at the missions.


mission church  Mission San Jose is known as the “Queen of the Missions” and is still an active parish today. In fact, all of the missions except the Alamo are active churches. The local diocese handles  maintenance and repair on the church building while the National Park Service cares for the  rest of the property.

The Native Americans who lived in this part of South Texas were hunter / gatherers. They are called the Coahuiltecan people. They came to live in the missions after years of raiding parties  from the north followed by a plague that caused many of them to die. The Spanish missionaries  invited them to live in the missions, so many of them moved there. They were taught Spanish, they worked in the fields around the mission and were taught about the Catholic faith.

paint on mission walls

Some of the brightly colored designs can still be seen on the walls of the old church.





rose window


The Rose Window (It was correct orientation when I uploaded, I promise!) looks into the sacristy of the church. It’s named for the roses carved around the window, not because the glass is a rose color.

There’s a romantic legend that one of the men working on the church carved the window in memory of his true love, Rosa, who was lost at sea. There isn’t anything in the church’s written record, however, to prove this story. But it’s still very romantic 🙂

We’ll be visiting the rest of the missions around San Antonio over the next few weeks, finishing up with the Alamo. If you’d like to see the rest of the photos we took of the mission and the grounds, check out the shared album in DropBox.

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