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Mission San Rafael Arcángel was founded in the present day location of San Rafael, California, on December 14, 1817, by Father Vicente De Sarria, as a medical asistencia ("sub-mission") of the San Francisco Mission to treat their sick population. It was granted full mission status in 1822.
This 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 had been 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 (see Bear Flag Revolt). In 1847, a priest was once again living at the Mission. A new parish church was built near the old chapel ruins in 1861, and, 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, it is for this reason that San Rafael is known as the "most obliterated of California's missions."  In 1949, Monsignor Thomas Kennedy rebuilt and restored the chapel. The new chapel was dedicated on December 18, 1949, with Archbishop Mitty officiating.
March 6th, 2013
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