Fray Diego Jiménez was one of the missionaries from the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro who began Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission and, later, two Apache missions on the upper Nueces River. On December 14, 1756, he arrived at San Antonio with the five other Franciscans assigned to seek conversion of the eastern Apaches. The group proceeded to the proposed mission site on the San Saba River the following April. On July 5, 1757-less than three months after their arrival-Jiménez and Fray Joaquín de Baños wrote to the college at Querétaro, declaring that they saw no hope that the Apaches would enter missions. Complaining that the San Sabá mission president, Fray Alonso Giraldo de Terreros, had misled them, they requested permission to abandon the enterprise. They departed for Querétaro before the end of the year.
Approximately two years later, Jiménez was serving as president of the Rio Grande missions at San Juan Bautista. There, in October 1759, he received word of the failure of the Ortiz Parrilla Red River Campaign, intended to punish the Northern Tribes for their destruction of the San Sabá Mission. In October 1761 a letter from Felipe de Rábago y Terán, the new commandant of San Luis de las Amarillas Presidio (San Sabá) informed him that the Apaches now were favorably inclined to settle in missions. The friar departed immediately for San Sabá. By early February 1762, Jiménez and Joaquín de Baños, working with Rábago, had established on the upper Nueces River two missions: San Lorenzo de la Santa Cruz and Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. Jiménez intended adding the two new establishments to his jurisdiction as president of the Rio Grande missions. His plan, however, did not coincide with the viceroy's. The missions of El Cañón, as they came to be called, never won the approval of the viceregal government.
Jiménez, dividing his time between the Nueces missions and his headquarters on the Rio Grande, was responsible for construction in the late 1760s of the ornate limestone church of San Bernardo Mission. The edifice, which was never completed, still stands outside Guerrero, Coahuila. Up to the cornicing and nearly finished, the work evidently halted when the Rio Grande missions were transferred from the College of Santa Cruz to the province of Jalisco in 1772. For that transaction, Jiménez compiled a census and an inventory of mission property. He then withdrew, apparently to serve as guardian of the college.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
Curtis D. Tunnell and William W. Newcomb, A Lipan Apache Mission: San Lorenzo de la Santa Cruz (Austin: Texas Memorial Museum, 1969). Robert S. Weddle, San Juan Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968). Robert S. Weddle, The San Sabá Mission (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Robert S. Weddle,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 14, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
February 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
August 3, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: