Santa Ysabel Asistencia

San Diego de Alcala ~ San Luis Rey ~ Pala ~ Santa Ysabel ~ Las Flores

Santa Ysabel Mission Church circa 1875

Santa Ysabel Asistencia

This, the "Church of the Desert," was founded as asistencia to Mission San Diego. Several dates have been given for its founding, but Fr. Engelhardt thinks that it was Sunday, September 20, 1818, when a site was blessed at Elcuanam, and a large number of Indians baptized. He says that a permanent chapel

". . . was eventually erected, but the date is not known. In 1822, it was reported that the asistencia, of Santa Ysabel comprised a chapel, a granary, several houses, a cemetery and an Indian population of 450 neophytes."

At Santa Ysabel both Luisenos and Dieguenos were enrolled. This sub-station as well as that at Pala was at first served somewhat irregularly by the padres from both San Diego and San Luis Rey; but at the height of prosperity one or more remained for several weeks at a time; during absences leaving the station in charge of mayordomos, and sometimes appointing an advanced neophyte as lay reader.

The recent disappearance of the old bells that hung from a thick beam outside the chapel is the subject of much grievous conjecture among Indians and pioneers at Santa Ysabel, who miss their familiar clangor of a Sunday morning. [parts of the bells were later found]

[From an article by Winifred Davidson in Carl Heilbron's History of San Diego, 1936]

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San Diego County Historical Landmark #369