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The first Catholic missionary school in the western hemisphere, the Franciscan College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro, in Querétaro City, Querétaro, Mexico, has an interesting connection to East Texas. The Church and Convent of Santa Cruz in Querétaro City (below) was apparently the original College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro, which sent Spanish missionaries to Texas.


Four of its missionaries, led by Damián Massanet, set out for East Texas in March of 1690. They settled in a valley near the Neches River on May 22, 1690 and celebrated High Mass on May 24. A replica of this first Spanish mission in what was then the province of Texas can be visited today: Mission Tejas, near the town of Alto, Texas. It is maintained inside the Mission Tejas State Park by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.


To walk back in history, and in celebration of the Spanish missionary pioneers who came to Texas, the “East Texas Mission Trail” is a wonderful project being planned at Stafford’s Meadow Farm. Surely the Franciscans would have carried an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe with them on their long journey, so we want to erect a statue of her near the Vogeler Cross. From the Handbook of Texas online we read that:

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