Mission Santa Barbara

Mission Santa Barbara is a mission that was originally founded by Padre Fermín Lasuén and an order of Franciscan friars in 1786. The tenth Franciscan mission to be established in modern day California, the mission went on to serve as the namesake for the city of Santa Barbara, California, as well as Santa Barbara County. The mission is believed to have been named after the legend of Saint Barbara, a Christian martyr beheaded by her father. Mission Santa Barbara is still home to a community of Franciscan friars and still operates as a parish church today.

Mission Santa Barbara’s historic chapel was not the original. The current building was constructed after all the original buildings were destroyed in the Santa Barbara Earthquake of 1812. With the exception of repairs to earthquake damage of the towers in 1927, the current Mission Santa Barbara has stood there since it was dedicated in 1820. A mausoleum and the historic botanical gardens of La Huerta are also located on the mission grounds. Mission Santa Barbara also offers its complex and chapel as a retreat center for groups, including conference rooms, a kitchen and dining room, and overnight accommodations.

Mission Santa Barbara Church

Mission Santa Barbara Church
Mission Santa Barbara Church

While the mission is owned by the Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara, it still operates as a parish church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. During the week, daily mass is offered in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Morning prayer begins at 7:10 a.m. and Eucharist begins at 7:30 a.m. Weekend masses include 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Mission Santa Barbara Map

A museum and tours of these historic grounds are available during the mission’s open hours. Visitors can obtain a map in the gift shop and explore the grounds on their own or choose from several docent-lead tours, offering themes such as architecture and a walking tour of the gardens. Tours are very competitively priced and begin in the mission’s gift shop.

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