a Pecan Shell
"Little Hill" adjoins the historical site of a former mission and
ranch headquarters maintained by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The
property comprised of two Spanish land grants awarded in 1767. The
"little hill" is on what became known as the La Lomita grant. The
La Lomita grant came into the possession of John Davis Bradburn in
1842. Bradburn, died that year and is buried somewhere on the property.
His Mexican widow sold the land in 1845 to René Guyard, a French merchant
in Reynosa. Upon Guyard's death in 1861, his will left the La Lomita
grant to Oblate priests.
The French Oblates had been ministering to the Catholics of the Rio
Grande country since 1849. The priests used La Lomita as a meeting
place since it was a midway point between their mission in Brownsville
and Roma. In 1884 the designation La
Lomita was extended to the entire property (two original grants).
yet there was no chapel at La Lomita. Managing the enterprise from
proved to be impossible and attempts to raise crops were disasters.
In 1899 the ranch was made the residential headquarters of a new Oblate
mission district for all of Hidalgo
County. It was at this time that the old chapel was built.
The Oblates sold most of their La Lomita ranch property in 1907 to
provide funds to develop churches and schools that were springing
up along the newly-arrived railroad. Developers James W. Conway and
John J. Hoit named the new townsite along the railroad Mission,
to honor the Oblate's work. The Oblates retained 100 acres in the
new town and 300 acres along the river, including the La Lomita hill
and chapel. When the Oblates moved to Mission
around 1910, the ranch and chapel at La Lomita deteriorated from neglect.
In 1912 a large three-story brick building was built to house a novitiate
1975 La Lomita was added to the National Register.
In 1976 the city of Mission added
visitor amenities and landscaping to make La Lomita a municipal historical
A 1978 a book written by local author Cleo Dawson was made
into a movie titled She Came to the Valley. It was filmed on
location in Mission and La Lomita.
The old chapel
at La Lomita was repaired and furnished in 1928 "as a precious relic
of the past and a Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe." A hurricane in
1933 caused damage which was repaired in 1939.
Chapel of La Lomita
Dear TE, I was
reading in your magazine about the ghostly encounters [at the La
Lomita Chapel] that people have reported. Well about 2 years ago,
I was in a similar situation but in broad daylight. I was recording
through the fence because the park had already closed when I had
arrived. Later at home when I viewed the tape, there appeared to
be a woman standing in the doorway of the chapel. At first, I thought
it was the fence, but the more I watched it, the more it looks like
a nun. And when I played it in slow motion, I was convinced that
it was a nun but without a face. She seemed to be facing to the
left corner. A week later, I went back to see if there was something
in the corner [of the doorway] and found that that is where a crucifix
is located. Currently we are looking for the video so that I can
submit it to get other opinions. I am a strong believer of the supernatural
and after reading [about the other encounters] I am convinced that
what I saw was a ghost. - Amanda Munoz, Mercedes, Texas, December
My wife and I live in Mission, Tx. One time we heard a story that
there was a chapel that was haunted. Now this place is located about
three miles south of Mission in a town called Madero. One night
my wife, a couple of friends from Houston and I decided to go and
see if this was true. It was around 11 p.m. when we got there and
saw this big chapel with a balcony. The gates were closed and it
look like it has been abandoned for a while. The first thing we
saw was a man standing in the balcony with his arms wide open. We
all got scared and quickly started to drive off. Suddenly a very
big noise came about and we saw a light flashing in our windshield.
We really had never believed in ghosts, but this was something very
special. - R Reyna, March 14, 2003
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