Sacred Heart Mission
Ruidosa, Texas

see more information below the photos

photo Mike Gross August 2021

photo 2009, courtesy of Catholic Properties of El Paso, Diocese of El Paso

undated historical photo. Courtesy Friends of the Ruidosa Church

Sacred Heart Mission
Ruidosa, Texas

Note: the building is currently in very poor condition, with restoration work on-going.

Misión El Corazón Sagrado de la Iglesia de Jesús (the Sacred Heart of the Church of Jesus) was founded by Father Nicholas Brocardus Eekin, a Roman Catholic priest, in about 1914.  Some sources suggest that the church was built as early as 1908. Father Brocardus, who immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands in 1892 and moved to the Big Bend area in 1897, was a circuit-riding priest who served communities in the Big Bend area for many years. He also founded Mission Mary in Calera and other churches in the area. Sacred Heart served residents from several towns along the river including Barrancos de Guadalupe, across the river in Chihuahua, Mexico. The church had two towers that flanked the entrance and four archways believed to be the largest traditional adobe arches in Texas. Sacred Heart became a mission of Santa Teresa de Jesús in Presidio, under the Catholic Dioceses of El Paso.

Ruidosa, which began as a penal colony under the Mexican government, flourished briefly in the early 20th century, and at one time had a flour mill, cotton gin, post office, a general store, and about 300 residents.

During the second half of the 20th century the town dwindled and the church fell into disuse and ruin. The roof and the south tower collapsed, and by 1991 the Catholic Dioceses of El Paso had made plans to demolish the building. Efforts to document the condition and value of the church, and to stabilize the structure, began in the late 1980's. Opposition to the demolition plan by residents led to the transfer of the property to Presidio County in 2019. In 2020 the deed was transferred to Friends of the Ruidosa Church, a newly formed nonprofit dedicated to the restoration of the church. A new push to restore the building began in 2005, with the work on-going. The Friends of the Ruidosa Church is organizing fund-raising and work on the structure.

Location: on TX FM 170 in Ruidosa, about 3/4 mile east of Hot Springs Road
Coordinates: 29.983688000,-104.681108900

Support the restoration of Sacred Heart
Friends of the Ruidosa Church. You can join (and contribute) to support this project here: https://www.ruidosachurch.org/

other resources/information (see the Resources page for complete citations):
Keller, David. Personal communication and “Ruidosa Church Timeline”
Big Bend Sentinel “A breath of life”
Big Bend Sentinel “Ownership of historic Ruidosa church to be transferred”
New York Times “Ruidosa Journal”
Young, Janine. Diocese of El Paso: Centenial History, p.238


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