San Francisco Xavier Mission On the Guadalupe River

By: Donald E. Chipman

Type: General Entry

Published: December 1, 1995

San Francisco Xavier on the Guadalupe River was an unofficial, short-lived mission located at the site of present-day New Braunfels. It was founded in late 1756 by Father Mariano Francisco de los Dolores y Viana, who had been the guiding force behind the defunct San Xavier missions on the San Xavier (San Gabriel) River near the site of modern Rockdale. Early missionaries at the Guadalupe site were fathers Miguel de Aranda and Francisco Aparicio. Success or failure of this transplanted religious outpost, which technically represented the relocation of San Francisco Xavier de Horcasitas Mission from the San Gabriel River and a subsequent brief location on the San Marcos River, was tied to viceregal approval and to rapidly developing plans for a major missionary effort among the Lipan Apaches. In late January 1757 Diego Ortiz Parrilla, at the urging of Father Dolores, visited the site from San Antonio. Ortiz Parrilla found four Spanish families living in jacals and forty-one neophytes under the instruction of fathers Aranda and Aparicio. He commented on the abundance of water, excellent stands of nearby timber, and good land for pasturage and cultivation. Much encouraged by Ortiz Parrilla's report, Father Dolores sought to include the new San Xavier under the umbrella of Pedro Romero de Terreros's generous support for new missions in Apachería. But the Guadalupe site, only fifteen leagues from San Antonio, was clearly outside the proposed mission field. Its exclusion created bitter feelings between fathers Dolores and Alonso Giraldo de Terreros, fellow missionary and cousin of the wealthy Don Pedro Romero, and it virtually doomed the Guadalupe River missionary enterprise. The site was finally abandoned in March 1758, after the destruction of Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission, for there was fear that the aroused hostility of the Comanches and their Norteño allies would be directed against unprotected San Francisco Xavier.

Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Robert S. Weddle, The San Sabá Mission (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964).
  • Exploration
  • Missions, Presidios, and Camps
  • Religion
  • Catholic
  • Architecture
  • Missions
  • Presidios
  • Pueblos
Time Periods:
  • Spanish Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Donald E. Chipman, “San Francisco Xavier Mission On the Guadalupe River,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1995

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