La Lomita Mission
This church was established in 1899, as the first mission of the historic La Lomita Church (5 miles south). Originally known as Our Lady of the Mission (Nuestra Senora de la Mission), it was renamed Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe) in 1927 when this structure was built. The towering church in Mission was rebuilt in 1927 after a 1925 fire destroyed Our Lady of Guadalupe's previous sanctuary. The new church was built at a previously vacant lot across from the original church building which is located just west of the current building.
That previous church was built in 1909 and was in a much smaller, wood-frame structure. The four-story tower on the 1920s church is topped by a belfry and the building features arched windows, limestone detailing, mission parapets, and multiple colorful stained glass windows. The building is a Registered Texas Historic Landmark, designated in 1990. The Mission revival inspired structure features a four-story tower capped by a domed belfry; mission parapets; arched windows; and elaborate limestone detailing.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1990
Priests of the Oblate of Mary Immaculate Order staff the church; this order served as missionaries on both sides of the Rio Grande in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War, covering a territory 90 miles wide stretching from Brownsville to Roma. Their main base of operations was at La Lomita, a hilltop north of the Rio Grande and southeast of the future location of the city of Mission. The parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe) was established in 1899 as the first mission of La Lomita Church; the original name of the parish was Our Lady of the Mission (Nuestra Senora de la Mission). The name was changed in 1927 when the new church building was built.
The Sisters of Mercy operated the Catholic school affiliated with Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, serving the children of South Mission since 1914. The school occupied an expanded wood frame building by 1933 at the location of the older wooden church on the west side on N. Dunlop Avenue. Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School building, constructed in the 1960s, now occupies the site where the older church once stood.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patron saint of all Mexican Catholics. The twelfth of December is the date of the annual celebration to honor the appearance of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to a Mexican on a hill near Mexico City on that date in 1531.
The 1926-1927 church was designed in a combination of Spanish Colonial Revival and Mission Revival styles, as seen in the domed steeple. quatrefoil windows, cast stone entry and espadanas. Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church [OLG] is one of four Catholic churches presently within the city limits of Mission. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary is in the 900 block of Matamoros Street, about 8 blocks east of OLG. St. Paul's was built in 1908 in the 1100 block of N. Francisco Avenue and traditionally served the Anglo population in North Mission. St. John of the Fields is on the western edge of town near Jaycee Park.
Calvary of Christ
“The Cavalry of Christ” with Fr. Bretault in the center. At the dedication of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mission Texas, January 29, 1911
Father Bretault, better known as “Padre Juanito de Ia Costa” was born in La Tournerie du Fief-Sauvin, France. He attended the major seminary at Angers after schooling in his village and the college at Beaupréau. He made his oblation in 1870 at the novitiate in Nancy, France. He also studied at Notre-Dame-de-l’Osier and Autun. After his ordination on May 25, 1872, Father came to Texas and took over the coastal mission of the famed “Lost Missionary’ Father Keralum until 1896, and again from 1904 to 1909. It was a territory that was once a 100 miles long along the South Texas coast.
At first, it was feared that Father’s poor health would not permit him to undertake the strenuous life of a Texas missionary, but for many years he rode horseback working in the hardest missions in South Texas and died in his 90th year. He was among those early missionaries that came to be known as the “Cavalry of Christ”.
For years he managed the immense Oblate ranch at La Lomita which was later sold and on part of which the present town of Mission, Texas is located.
He spent his last years at St. Peter’s Novitiate in Mission, Texas, a great favorite of many classes of novices who profited greatly by his words and example. He died due to burns received on the grounds of the novitiate on May 31, 1934.