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Texas in Review - Mission at Ysleta (1957)

Texas Historical Commission

Sound | 1957

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  •  Mission at Ysleta, southeast of El Paso, established 1682 
  •  Bell brought from Mexico 
  •  Fire damaged mission, 1907 
  •  Church furnishings 
  •  seat of a Franciscan Mission, secular priests and Jesuits 
  •  Ysleta meaning 
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  •  The Mission, which lies a few miles southeast of El Paso, was established in 1682 as a refuge for the ancient Tigua Indians, whose history is embodied in the little church.  
  •  What tales could be told by the old bell that chimes from the tower?  
  •  Older than the mission itself, the silver and copper bell was brought from Mexico.  
  •  Originally rung by the early Franciscans, today, Jesuit Father Martinez calls his parishioners to worship with the bell, as it rings and fills the heat-trapped silence. 
  •  A fire damaged the mission in 1907, and while very little was saved of the early, beautiful ornaments, the church is again rich in valuable works of art. 
  •  Ancient statues, painted madonnas, gold and silver vessels are here.  
  •  Important not only to the worshippers, but to the visitor who is searching for beauty that is of more than routine interest.  
  •  A church historian could trace the story of Ysleta by the contributions that line the walls and recesses of the chapel.  
  •  When the governing bishop was located in Durango, Mexico, Ysleta was the seat of a Franciscan mission, then came the administration of the secular priests. 
  •  In 1881 the Jesuits took over and they remain in authority.  
  •  Today, football and other sports are played on the same grounds where 300 years ago the Tigua Indian parched his corn and listened to the priests tell of a forgiving God.  
  •  To the first who sought refuge here, the activities of today's Latin American parishioner may seem strange, but Father Martinez knows that whereas food for the spirit does not change like the seasons, the same cannot be said of the customs and pursuits of his young people.  
  •  Ysleta means little island, and when the bells of Ysleta ring through the valley carved by the Rio Grande it is easy to accept this meaning 
  •  For here is an island of faith and hope, a quiet, a coolness in the shimmering sun, a Christian stronghold in the El Paso valley, where the doors are always open to all who would enter.  
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This clip, most likely shown as part of the February 4, 1957 episode of "Texas in Review," gives an overview of the 300+ year history of the Mission at Ysleta, from its founding in 1682 to present day use.

"Texas in Review" was a television series sponsored by the Humble Oil & Refining Company.  Originally produced in a news-like format by Fort Worth's Channel 5, the series was later given to the Jamieson Film Company, who developed its newsreel and TV-magazine style. For five years, Jamieson produced the program in its entirety (writing, filming, editing), until recession-induced budget cuts caused Humble Oil to cancel it in 1958. While on air in Dallas, it enjoyed the prime time spot between the popular "Burns & Allen" and "I Love Lucy."

Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo is a federally recognized sovereign nation that is home to the Puebloan Native American tribal community known as "Tigua." The Pueblo is located approximately twelve miles from El Paso, Texas and was established in 1682 following the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 in New Mexico when the tribe was displaced by Spaniards. The Tribe practices their traditional ceremonies and maintains its political and social infrastructure in the Pueblo Community while also contributing to the local community and economy of El Paso. The Tribe provides health care, education, law enforcement, tribal courts, and elder assistance to its members on the Pueblo, among other services.
La Mision de Corpus Christi de San Antonio de la Ysleta del Sur, better known as Mission Ysleta, is located on the Pueblo. The site of Mission Ysleta was initially used as a refugee camp in 1675 for Pueblo Indians escaping the Pueblo Revolt, as well as Apache raiders. The church's permanent structure was built out of adobe by the Tigua, and the dedication took place on October 19, 1682. The church was named for Tigua's patron saint, Saint Anthony (San Antonio). The church relocated and was rebuilt on the Pueblo several times during the 18th and 19th centuries due to flooding of the Rio Grande River, and it was rebuilt in 1908 following a fire. The structure erected in 1908 is the one that stands today; the bells in its tower cast in 1925. The church holds regular services and is also home to a school for the Puebloan community. Mission Ysleta is a source of pride and tradition for the Tiguas. It is cited by the Texas Historical Commission as the first mission and pueblo in Texas and is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Sister missions exist in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and Socorro, Texas.