Mission Ysleta del Sur
est. 1680

Following the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 which left 400 Spanish dead in New Mexico, the 2000 survivors fled south toward El Paso del Norte led by New Mexico Governor Antonio de Otermín. About 500 of these survivors belonged to the Tigua tribe, having been driven away from their ancestral home, Isleta Pueblo. Once they reached El Paso del Norte and the Rio Grande, Father Juan de Zavaleta held the first Catholic mass in what would become Texas on October 12, 1680. Governor Otermín, representing Spain, established the Ysleta del Sur Mission for the Tigua, changing the I to a Y and adding del Sur, meaning 'of the South,' to differentiate the mission from the Isleta Pueblo of New Mexico.

On October 19, 1682, a new permanent adobe church was dedicated by the Bishop of Tucson and named La Misión de Corpus Christi de San Antonio de la Ysleta del Sur in honor of Saint Anthony, the Tigua's patron saint.

Over the years, floods have damaged or destroyed the church. The first was in 1740, but rebuilding was completed by 1744. The next, and perhaps most significant, was in 1829. Heavy flooding of the Rio Grande washed away the structure, and when the waters receded it was discovered that the river had carved a new channel south of the mission (originally, it was about a mile north), which would cause the mission to be included within the United States rather than Mexico. In 1844, another flood wiped out the church. The site was moved to higher ground and rebuilt in 1851, later modified in 1897 to include the bell tower. A fire in May 1907 damaged much of the building, but by 1908 repairs were completed and the church has changed little since. A school, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, operated here from 1918-2005.

Today, the church is owned by the Catholic Dioscese of El Paso and staffed by Conventual Franciscans. A new, larger church was built in the 1960s to accomodate the growing number of parishioners, and the historic church is primarily used for special occasions.

I Visited the Ysleta Mission
3.17.2018

See Also
Socorro Mission la PurísimaSan Elizario

Bibliography