Between 1680-1821, Franciscan missionaries established several missions throughout Texas. One of the purposes of these missions was to convert the Indians to the Catholic faith, and to “civilize” them. They also hoped to teach the Indians skills ranging from cattle ranching to carpentry, which would allow them to be stable, self-sustaining communities.

As they built these missions, they encountered many challenges along the way. Some of these challenges included disease, starvation, floods and other natural disasters, and attacks by hostile Indians who were against these Spanish missionaries. The final mission built in Texas was Mission Nuestra Señora del Refugio, founded in 1793. After that, Spain shifted the focus of their missionary efforts to California.

In his talk, “The History and Legacy of Spanish Missions in Texas”, Dr. Jamie Starling will examine the formation of missions in Texas, including the missions of San Antonio, Goliad, San Saba, Los Adaes, and El Paso. This presentation will describe how these Franciscan missions, initially formed to convert Native Americans to Catholicism, created a diverse group of indigenous and Hispanic communities across the state by 1800. At the end of the program, he will ask those in attendance to consider the diverse legacies of these missions, as parish churches, community centers, parks, and – in some cases – lost and nearly forgotten sites across the state during the Scholars for Life lecture and presentation scheduled for Thursday, April 25, from 6-8 p.m. at the Dustin Sekula Memorial Library.

For more information, contact Omero Morales or Claralexis Rios at 956-383-6246.