500 E. Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
January 12, 1777 - The 8th California Mission
Mission Santa Clara
An active Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of San José. Since 1851, it has been the spiritual center of what is now the University of Santa Clara.
Santa Clara de Asís was founded on January 12, 1777 and was the first mission in California to honor a female saint, Saint Claire of Assisi, a 13th century Italian nun. Also known as Mission Santa Clara, this mission is the site of the first and oldest university in California, Santa Clara University, which was founded in 1851.
500 E. Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
Santa Clara University is five (5) miles from San José Airport and 35 miles from the San Francisco Airport.
408-554-4023 - Mission
408-554-4356 - University Book Store
Please contact the Mission directly by telephone or by visiting the mission website for the most current information.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is best to check for current information.
Weddings have to be scheduled by calling the Mission office at 408-554-4023 or by visiting the wedding page on the Mission website. A year-and-a-half notice is strongly recommended. This is a popular place for weddings by those who have attended Santa Clara University and they are given preference.
Santa Clara is the oldest university in California. It developed from the Mission founded in 1777.
The church is an attractive "modern interpretation" of the 1825 church.
This is an active church serving the university and local community.
The Altar of Remembrance honoring those who have died.
There is a well-maintained rose garden to the right of the church. This was the site of a cemetery from 1820-1846.
Part of an original adobe wall has been preserved on the mission grounds. There is a plaque containing information about the walls in 1822.
The side view of the restored mission church shows the wooden cross erected in 1777. It now has a protective casing.
It is possible to visit Missions Santa Clara, San Jose and Santa Cruz in one full day if you start early.
1836 (one of the last missions to be secularized)
Saint Clare of Assisi, considered the co-foundress (with Saint Francis) of the Order of Poor Clares.
The mission was founded in the land of the Ohlone people. The Indians who lived in the Santa Clara area spoke Tamyen, one of eight (8) Costanoan dialects. The neophytes ultimately included such groups as the Bay Miwok, Tamyen, and the Yokuts.
Located on the southern end of San Francisco Bay in Santa Clara, on a site originally chosen by Juan Bautista de Anza, the Spanish Pathfinder.
The mission was originally founded as La Mision de Santa Clara de Thamien at the Costanoan village of Socoisuka on the Guadalupe River. The mission was destroyed and rebuilt on six successive occasions.
There was ample water from nearby streams and the Guadalupe River.
The highest mission population was 1,514 in 1795.
The mission had the second largest livestock herd among the northern missions, a total of 20,320 animals in 1832 - 10,000 cattle, 9,500 sheep, 55 swine, 730 horses, and 35 mules.
Mission Santa Clara harvested approximately 118,000 bushels of grain and produce between 1782 and 1832.
The current church is a tasteful modern interpretation of the mission's fifth church constructed in 1825.
The 1825 church was completely destroyed in a devastating fire in 1926.
Four bells hang in the companario, one of them an original donated to the mission in 1798 by King Carlos IV of Spain who donated a second bell in 1799.
The 1799 bell was broken during the 1926 fire that destroyed the Church. In 1929, King Alphonse XIII of Spain donated a replacement bell and this bell is still in use.
A tall cross erected in 1777 stands across from the Church entrance.
In 1851 authority for Santa Clara was transferred to the Jesuits and the old mission became the nucleus of Santa Clara University.
Mission Santa Clara has a unique history. The mission was destroyed and rebuilt on six successive occasions. The last mission-era church was completed in 1825. The Santa Clara Mission was also one of the last secularized in 1836. In 1851, authority for Santa Clara was transferred to the Jesuits and the old mission became the nucleus of Santa Clara University. In 1926 this historic church was destroyed in a fire.
The Historical Image Gallery shows several 19th century drawings of the Santa Clara Mission as well as a photograph of the "modern interpretation" of the mission church completed in 1929.
The Contemporary Image Gallery contains more recent photographs taken by several different photographers from around the Church gardens and the Church interior.