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Mission San José

At a Glance

Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo was founded by Franciscan missionary Father Antonio Margil de Jesús in 1720. The mission relocated three times after originally being placed on the east bank of the San Antonio River south of the Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo). Many of the structures on-site before the 1760s were temporary. In 1768, construction of the existing church began and finished about 14 years later. The church’s façade and Rose Window are considered the finest examples of Spanish colonial ornamentation in the U.S. Mission San José’s Visitor Center features the short film Gente de Razón (People of Reason) to provide an overview of mission life. The church holds a bilingual Mariachi Mass every Sunday at 12:30 pm.

The Mission San José Church and Compound

Initially, 240 Indians assigned to the Mission served as the primary labor force for construction, irrigation, and farming. The compound included a stone friary (convento), a granary, a gristmill, and workshops for carpentry, blacksmithing, and weaving. The Mission also had two livestock ranches (Rancho de Atascosa and Rancho de San Lucas) 25 miles away where Mission Indians learned to raise livestock.

Starting in 1759 through 1764, the plaza was enclosed behind stone walls to defend the residents from attack by other indigenous groups. At the time, 350 Mission Indians lived onsite in 84 two-room living quarters along the compound’s walls. These residences consisted of one main room and a kitchen.

The Mystery of The Rose Window

Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo is known as the “Queen of the Missions,” and the Rose Window is the jewel in her crown. The artisan who created the window on the south side of the sacristy remains a mystery; although, Pedro Huizar is believed to have been the craftsman who carved the window. There are two theories that exist about the window. The first is that it may have been named in memory of its creator’s girlfriend, Rosa, who tragically died at sea on her voyage from Spain. Another theory is that the window was named after Saint Rose of Lima, the first saint of the New World. The window is considered the finest example of Spanish colonial ornamentation in the United States.

After Secularization

Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo operated as a Spanish Mission for 104 years and baptized over 2,000 individual Indians. The Mission began the secularization process in 1794, with its days as a Spanish Mission officially ending in 1824. Mexican and Texian/Tejano military units later occupied the property intermittently. The church reopened for services from 1859 to 1868, until a portion of the north wall, dome and roof collapsed during storms. In 1928, the church’s bell tower collapsed. In 1932, a major restoration project began for the church, granary, bastion, and Mission Indian living quarters. The gristmill reopened in 2001. Today, the church plans to add a pavilion and community center outside the historic compound to serve the growing needs of the parish.

Getting to San José

701 E Pyron Ave,
San Antonio, TX 78214

Mission San José is 2.6 miles south of Mission Concepción, approximately six minutes along the World Heritage Trail – or about an 18-minute drive down Roosevelt Avenue if coming directly from downtown. The hike & bike trail crosses right in front of the mission’s entrance. The San Antonio River Walk Mission Reach and historic Acequia Trail are about a mile walk due north. While traveling the river along the Mission Reach, you will encounter “portals” from the river to Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan and Mission Espada. These portals help illustrate the vital role the river played in our early history.

Map of Mission San Jose Area

Take I-35 S to San Antonio. Take exit 158B to merge onto I-37 S/US-281 S toward Corpus Christi. Exit on 138B for New Braunfels Ave and Southcross Blvd. Make a right on New Braunfels Ave S, followed by another right on Southcross Ave E. Continue on Southcross Ave E and turn left on Roosevelt Ave. Continue on Roosevelt Ave and take a left on Napier Ave, followed by a left on San José Dr, and arrive at Mission San José.

Take I-37 N to San Antonio. Follow I-37 N and take exit 132 for TX-122 Spur. Turn left onto TX-122 Spur N and continue north. Make a left turn at SE Military Dr followed by a right turn at Roosevelt Ave. Turn right on Napier Ave, then left on San José Dr to Mission San José.

Follow I-35 E and I-35 S to San Antonio. Take exit 158B to merge onto I-37 S/US-281 S toward Corpus Christi. Exit on 138B for New Braunfels Ave and Southcross Blvd. Make a right on New Braunfels Ave S, followed by another right on Southcross Ave E. Continue on Southcross Ave E and turn left on Roosevelt Ave. Continue on Roosevelt Ave and take a left on Napier Ave, followed by a left on San José Dr, and arrive at Mission San José.

Take I-10 E to San Antonio. Follow I-10 E and keep left at fork to continue on I-35 S, follow signs for Laredo. Take exit 152A toward Division Ave. Merge onto I-35 S Access Rd and turn left onto Division Ave. Continue on Division Ave and turn right onto S Flores St. Continue on S Flores St and turn left onto E White followed by a right onto Mission Rd. Follow Mission Rd to Mission San José.

Take I-45 N to I-10 W to San Antonio. Take exit 574 to merge onto I-37 S/US-281 S toward Corpus Christi. Exit on 138B for New Braunfels Ave and Southcross Blvd. Make a right on New Braunfels Ave S, followed by another right on Southcross Ave E. Continue on Southcross Ave E and turn left on Roosevelt Ave. Continue on Roosevelt Ave and take a left on Napier Ave, followed by a left on San José Dr, and arrive at Mission San José.

Take I-35 N/US-83 N. Follow I-35 N to San Antonio. Exit 150B for Military Dr and turn right onto Military Dr. Take Military Dr and turn left on Roosevelt Ave. Take a right on Napier Ave, followed by a left on San José Dr, and arrive at Mission San José.

Take US-281 S from E Terminal Dr and Dee Howard Way. Take US-281 S to Downtown San Antonio. Continue onto I-37 S/US-281 S. Exit on 138B for New Braunfels Ave and Southcross Blvd. Make a right on New Braunfels Ave S, followed by another right on Southcross Ave E. Continue on Southcross Ave E and turn left on Roosevelt Ave. Continue on Roosevelt Ave and take a left on Napier Ave, followed by a left on San José Dr, and arrive at Mission San José.

Photo for exploring the area

Explore the Area

San Antonio is a city on the rise, with eclectic neighborhoods to explore, a buzzing food scene and vibrant nightlife – all near our historic World Heritage Site missions.

 
Photo of downtown San Antonio

Touring the City

With the new VIA VIVA public transportation routes, San Antonio River Mission Reach hike & bike trails and guided tours throughout the city, San Antonio is incredibly accessible for all kinds of adventurers.

 

Mission San José Events

Yoga in Your Park w/ Mobile Om

Yoga in Your Park w/ Mobile Om

Join Mobile Om for FREE Yoga at Mission San José.

16 Dec 2017

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