Mission Santa Clara de Thamien

By | Jan 11, 2012

While George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin was creating a new country, a group of Spanish Fransciscan Friars under the leadership of Father Junípero Serra were establishing missions in present day California. On January 11, 1777 the Mission Santa Clara de Thamien was founded at the Indian village of So-co-is-u-ka on the Guadalupe River, by Franciscan Padres Tomás de la Peña and Joseph Antonio Marguia.

This mission was the eighth one established. In total there would be twenty one. It was the first of the missions named in honor of a woman, St. Clare of Assisi.

St. Clare was born Chiara Offreduccio in 1194. Before her death in 1253 she was one of the first followers of Francis of Assisi and founded the Order of the Poor Ladies. She was canonized as a saint in 1263 and Pope Urban IV changed the name of the Order of the Poor Ladies to the Order of Saint Clare in 1263.

The City of Santa Clara, California was named after the mission. The city has a population of 109,000. For many years the economy of the area centered on family owned orchard and vegetable farms. Now the semiconductor industry is the economic major player.

The mission itself is located on the grounds of Santa Clara University and is used for the school’s chapel. King Charles III of Spain sent to the mission bells and they have run every evening at 8:30 as he requested them to be rung in memory of those who have died.

Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 and is the oldest higher education institute in California. It is also the oldest Catholic university in the western United States. Some noted people who have attended Santa Clara University are basketball stars Kurt Rambis and Steve Nash, Soccer great Brandi Chastain, Jerry Brown, former Governor of California, and two members of the 60’s musical group Jefferson Airplane, Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen.




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