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Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Mission San Rafael Arcángel was founded on December 14, 1817 by Father Vicente de Sarria. It was the twentieth mission in the California mission chain, and was named for the Archangel Raphael. It is located in San Rafael, California, in Marin County. The mission was started as a branch of the Mission San Francisco de Asis as a hospital to treat sick Indians from Mission San Francisco. The weather was much better in the North Bay, and helped the ill to get better. It was never intended to be a full mission, but the mission grew and it was granted full mission status on October 19, 1822.

Mission San Rafael Arcángel was one of the first missions turned over to the Mexican government in 1833. In 1840, there were 150 Indians still at the mission. By 1844, Mission San Rafael Arcángel was left abandoned. What was left of the empty buildings was sold for $8,000 in 1846. The mission was used by John C. Fremont as his headquarters during the battles to make California a United States possession. In 1847, a priest was once again living at the mission. A new parish church was built near the old chapel ruins in 1861. In 1870, the rest of the ruins were removed to make room for the city of San Rafael. All that was left of the mission was a single pear tree from the old mission's orchard. In 1949, Monsignor Thomas Kennedy rebuilt and restored the chapel.

Today the Mission San Rafael Arcángel sits next to the parish church of St. Raphael. It is located on the site of the original hospital. It is open to visitors and has a small museum and gift shop.

See also: California mission



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