My third Mission is Santa Clara de Asís, founded on January 12 1777. It is the eighth Californian Mission and located in the grounds of the University of Santa Clara. Whilst staying in the city of Santa Clara, some 40 miles south of San Francisco, I decided to investigate a few more Californian Missions, this one being the closest.
Named after Saint Claire of Assisi, a thirteenth century Italian nun, this mission was the first to be named after a female saint. It has been destroyed and rebuilt no fewer than six times and the current church is a modern interpretation of the fifth church which was built in 1825 and later destroyed by fire. Its layout is the traditional quadrangle.
Of the four Mission Bells in the tower, one is a gift from Carlos III of Spain and dates from 1798. Two more were destroyed in the 1926 fire and re-cast, and the fourth is a gift from Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1929. The Mission Bell marker outside the grounds is similar to the bells placed along El Camino Real to mark that historic route.
In 1851, authority for Santa Clara was transferred to the Jesuits and the old mission became the nucleus of Santa Clara University. Unlike my first two missions this one is very neat and clean and well-maintained, perhaps because many of the former Mission buildings are in use by the university. The grounds are well landscaped with a formal rose garden which was once a cemetery for the early Mission. There are olive trees in the grounds and climbing roses and a wisteria above an arbour, dating from 1880. A small portion of the original adobe wall has been preserved.
(click on an image to enlarge and for more information)
(source of information is from plaques within the grounds)