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Province History

  • 1687-1711 Jesuit Father Eusebio Kino, the “Padre on Horseback,” establishes 20 missions in Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora.
  • 1849 Two Jesuit priests from Italy, Michael Accolti and John Nobili, arrive in San Francisco from Oregon.
  • Jesuits speaking outside at Santa Clara University in 18511851 A college is established at Mission Santa Clara; it would grow into Santa Clara University and Bellarmine College Preparatory. 
  • 1854 California becomes a mission of the Jesuits’ Turin Province of Italy.
  • 1855 A college established in San Francisco eventually grows into St. Ignatius College Preparatory and the University of San Francisco.
  • 1877 Jesuits complete construction of the present St. Joseph's Church in San Jose, which now serves as the Cathedral of the Diocese of San Jose.
  • The exterior of Sacred Heart Novitiate in 18881888 Sacred Heart Novitiate opens in Los Gatos to train Jesuit novices; part of their work included harvesting grapes for Novitiate winery. The Novitiate is later moved to Santa Barbara, then to Culver City where it is now located.
  • 1906 On April 18, St. Ignatius Church and College are destroyed in the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. A new schoolhouse known as the "Shirt Factory" is quickly built. A temporary 500-seat church opens in December 1906; a new 2,000-seat church is dedicated in August 1914.
  • 1909 California becomes fully independent from Turin. The Province boundaries expand to encompass all of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
  • Loyola Marymount University1911 Founding of Los Angeles College, which later evolves into Loyola Marymount University and Loyola High School.

    1914  Jesuits assume administration of Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood. In its early years, the parish maintained close ties with Catholic film stars such as Bing Crosby, Irene Dunne, John Wayne, and Loretta Young.
  • 1925 The Jesuits open El Retiro Retreat House, recently renamed the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos. On June 29 in Santa Barbara, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake destroys Our Lady of Sorrows Church and damages much of the city.
  • 1926 Bellarmine is separated from Santa Clara University.
  • Brophy Preparatory School1928 Brophy College Preparatory opens in Phoenix. First California Province Jesuits are assigned to mainland China Mission.
  • 1929 New Our Lady of Sorrows Church opens at another location in Santa Barbara.
  • 1932 California Province is reorganized; the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are split off to form the Oregon Province.
  • 1941 Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish begins serving the Mexican community in San Diego.
  • 1950s California Jesuits begin missions in Taiwan.
  • 1954 St. Ignatius Loyola Parish founded in Sacramento.
  • 1963  Jesuit High School is established in Sacramento.
  • 1969 Theological study for Jesuits moves from Alma College near Los Gatos to the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. St. Ignatius College Preparatory is relocated from the University of San Francisco to a new campus in San Francisco's Sunset District.
  • Priest stands with two women1973 Pacific Institute for Community Organizations, now known as PICO National Network, forms in Oakland to train grassroots leadership to solve local problems.
  • 1978 Jesuits and Franciscans agree to work together toward “building the Church” on the campus of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. In 1982, the Newman Center is dedicated there.
  • Two men smiling1980 Jesuits are given charge of Dolores Mission, a Latino parish in Los Angeles. That church has inspired several innovative ministries, including Homeboy Industries (1988).
  • 1986 Founding of Proyecto Pastoral at Mission Dolores, a faith-based organization working to empower the community of Los Angeles by developing grass-roots projects in education, training, and service.
  • Boys holding candles1992 The Diocese of San Jose asks the Province to lead Most Holy Trinity Parish, which serves a large Filipino, Latino, and Vietnamese.
  • 1997 Loyola Institute for Spirituality in Orange begins to build on a retreat program established in the 1920s in Azusa. Today, it offers pioneering programs in spiritual formation for lay leaders.
  • Boy in suit smiling2000 Cardinal Roger M. Mahony asks the Province to assume administration of Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles. Today, approximately 350 students are enrolled in its innovative work-study program.
  • 2001 The Province collaborates with Sacred Heart Parish and the Diocese of San Jose in sponsoring Sacred Heart Nativity School.
  • 2003 The Province sponsors a Convocation at Loyola Marymount University to reflect on how partnership efforts between Jesuits and laypersons might evolve in the future.
  • Testarossa wine label2005 Novitiate wine label is resurrected by Testarossa Vineyards, which now operates the historic winery.
  • 2006 Cristo Rey High School, Sacramento, opens under the co-sponsorship of the Province, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
  • 2006 Xavier College Preparatory High School opens in Palm Desert, Calif., with the Province's endorsement as an Ignatian school in the Jesuit tradition.

    2006 Our Lady of Grace Nativity School for Girls opens in San Jose to serve at-risk middle school girls.

  • 2009 The California Province celebrates its Centennial year with a central theme: "Responding to the Call of Christ, 100 Years & Beyond 1909-2009." Nearly 390 Jesuits are joined by hundreds of lay partners.
  • 2009 The Kino Border Initiative is inaugurated to serve the adjacent border communities of Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The KBI offers outreach to migrants deported from the United States, with a specific mission of serving unaccompanied women particularly vulnerable to exploitation.