"Ximenes Chapel" 113 Ruiz St., San Antonio

This Chapel of the Miracles, where people from all over the world come to pray and make contracts with the Almighty, known to the Family as  "El Senor de Los Milagros", has been part of the Rodriguez Family since the late 1800's.   The Chapel is part of the San Antonio landscape and came into public prom enounce with the rescue of a young man from the hangman's noose. 

The story is that a young man was condemned to die  for some crime, circa 1920+.  His Mother prayed and agreed to walk on her knees from San Fernando Cathedral to El Senor de Los Milagros (about 2 miles), if her son were pardoned.  In a scene reminisced of a movie, her son was pardoned at the last minute.  The streets were lined with people.  People stepped from the sidewalks with rugs to place before this Mother of faith who crawled on her knees from San Fernando to the Chapel as she had promised.    

There is the story of a WWII pilot who contracted to come and pray once a year if he survived the war.  His Aviator wings hang within the chapel to this day.  He came each year as promised.  There are many stories such as these as people of faith come to the chapel from all over the world.

This Chapel was constructed in 1813.  The story of its origin however goes back into time, in fact into Texas history as contents of the Mission Valero became part of this Chapel.  The Mission Valero is better known as the Alamo.

 This story was told the author by 'Tillie' or Matilda Matta, the daughter of Carolina Cantu, the Daughter of Clemente Rodriguez and Candellaria Ximenes.   Clemete Rodriguez is brother of Severo and the son of Jose Maria Rodriguez and Francisca Gonzales.

Historical Background

San Antonio de Valero, one of five Spanish missions established by Franciscans in what is now San Antonio, is most commonly known as the site of the battle of the Alamo (1836). The mission was started by Father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares, of the College of Santa Cruz of Querétaro,who first visited the region in 1709. In 1716 Olivares received approval from the Marqués de Valero, recently appointed viceroy of New Spain, for a plan to remove to San Antonio the dwindling mission of San Francisco Solano, founded in 1700 near the right bank of the Rio Grande at the site of present Guerrero, Coahuila. The viceroy also directed Martín de Alarcón, governor of Coahuila and Texas, to accompany Olivares with a military guard. After considerable delay, Olivares and Alarcón traveled separately to San Antonio in the spring of 1718. Mission San Antonio de Valero was founded on May 1 and followed four days later by the nearby San Antonio de Béxar Presidio and the civil settlement, Villa de Béxar. The mission, originally located west of San Pedro Springs, survived three moves and numerous setbacks during its early years. After a hurricane destroyed most of the existing buildings in 1724, the mission reached its latest site on the east bank of the San Antonio River. Hostile Apaches and allied tribes harassed the institution repeatedly during the 1730s and 1740s, and an epidemic of smallpox and measles devastated the resident Indian population in 1739. The mid-century decades witnessed the mission's most successful period. The Indian population climbed to 311 in 1745 and 328 in 1756, then declined. Throughout the mission's history, its Indian neophytes included members of more than a hundred groups, including Payaya, Pamaya, Pataguo, Tacame, Tamique, Xarame, Sana, Apache, Coco, Top, Karankawa, Ervipiame, and Yuta Indians.

In 1773 the Franciscans of Querétaro transferred administration of San Antonio de Valero and its neighboring missions to the Franciscans of the College of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas. At the latter's request, the Spanish government in 1793 ordered San Antonio de Valero secularized. Its religious offices passed to the nearby diocesan parish of San Fernando de Béxar,while its lands, houses, seeds, tools, and draft animals were distributed among the remaining Indians, refugees from the East Texas settlement of Los Adaes, and local residents.

This last sentence is most important.

The story as told by Matilda Matta.

Juan  Ximenes received dispensation to forego  Mass at the Valero Mission (about 2 miles away) because of the potential loss of live stock or worst, life by the marauding Indians.  He built a chapel within his ranch house.  It was here that Family Religious services were held and he was better able to protect his Family, livestock and property.

In 1793, when the Spanish government ordered San Antonio de Valero secularized, Juan  Ximenes asked for and was granted permission to move the Crucifix along with other items (pictures Etc)   from the Mission Valero to the Family Chapel.  The story goes that he carried the cross on his back the entire way.  These religious icons were leaned against the walls of the family chapel.   It remained this way until 1813 when the present chapel was constructed.


The inside of the Chapel.

 The Crucifix is from the Mission Valero (The Alamo) as are other items.



Big Rod Approaches the Chapel.



The Chapel is listed in the National Register of Historical Places.




  Ximenes Chapel (added 1980 - Building - #80004080)
Also known as Chapel of the Miracles
113 Ruiz St., San Antonio
Historic Significance: Person, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Unknown
Architectural Style: No Style Listed
Historic Person: Ximenez,Juan
Significant Year: 1860
Area of Significance: Architecture, Politics/Government, Religion, Exploration/Settlement
Period of Significance: 1850-1874
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Religion
Historic Sub-function: Religious Structure
Current Function: Religion
Current Sub-function: Religious Structure

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