On our way back home from our recent Jackman family renunion we visited Asistencia Santa Ysabel. Having visited all of the original California missions I felt compelled to stop and visit the Asistencia.
Starting in San Diego in 1769, the missions were built as a safeguard of the Spanish empire in California. As the missions in California grew it became necessary to fill in the gap areas between the missions. In 1816 the mission fathers in San Diego officially requested the Spanish Governor for the right to build an Asistencia (helper) Mission in what is now known as Santa Ysabel.
Santa Ysabel was intended to be the first of a chain of missions that would extend all the way through Arizona and onto Sonora, Mexico. In the 1830s the Mexican government desecularized all of the missions and Santa Ysabel suffered by a lack of priesthood visiting the area.
Eventually, the mission completely deteriorated and the mission bells were lost (the story says lost, but it looks to me like they were stolen). It was not until 1903 with the arrival of Father Lapointe that the mission became what it is today.
A quick video of the chapel:
Today there is not much to look at but it was interesting. Besides the chapel there is a cemetery (which lots of Native American graves) and a Native American museum. The museum was a bit dusty and looking at the visitor’s log it didn’t look like it saw many visitors. I enjoyed looking at the pictures of old chiefs and old tribal dances.