The Story of Misión San Francisco de la Espada.
The year was 1731. The mission, previously named San Francisco de las Tejas, had been located in East Texas. But it was then moved to its present site by the San Antonio River. Even now, all these centuries later, the location is remote enough to appear almost as it must have when it first began.
Life at Mission Espada was productive in its early years. The Franciscan padres worked to make it as much like a Spanish village as possible. They trained the natives in many useful vocations—including carpentry, masonry, stonecutting, and brick-making. In fact, Espada was the only mission to make brick—and you can see some of these bricks today in the mission itself.
The last years of Espada, however, were difficult and tragic. There were epidemics that devastated the population. Multiple fires. And Apache raids that were unceasing. There seemed to be no hope of recovery. The populations of the other missions were declining as well.
In September of 1831, the Governor of Coahuila and Texas sent orders to the political chief of Texas to close all of the missions in San Antonio. All the mission property was sold—except for the churches—at auction.
Then, in 1858, a flicker of hope arrived for Mission Espada—in the form of a French priest. His name was the Reverend Francis Bouchu. He made records of everything still standing, including all the painted artwork still visible. While he did this, he established Mission Espada as his home and made a start at rebuilding the church. Today, we owe a debt of real gratitude to Father Bouchu. Without his intervention, there might not have been anything left to save or restore today. With your help, we can continue that important work.
The administrator for Misión San Francisco de la Espada is Rev. Andres Gallegos, OFM
10040 Espada Road
San Antonio, TX 78214