The San Salvador Mission Church

San Salvador Mission, Historical Marker.

Italian immigrants began to arrive in Texas in the 1880s; they left Southern Italy and Sicily in large groups to flee widespread rural poverty.  In the Texas Brazos Valley near Bryan, TX and mainland Galveston country, farmers began to settle.  Most of these came specifically from the three villages of Poggioreale, Corleone and Salaparuta.  Attending Mass in 1894 was very difficult for these small communities because there was no reliable bridge to cross the Brazos River to Bryan where the nearest church was located.

As the story goes, a 12 year old girl from the Scarmardo family had three different visions of a lady from heaven asking her why there was no church in this place.  "There needs to be a Church here," she told the girl.  The parents took their daughter to a priest in Bryan, and soon the community decided that they should do what the lady asked (they felt she was the Blessed Virgin.) Each family gave their first crops, another family donated the land, and the Church was built in six weeks. Each family gave their first crops, another family donated land and the Church was built in 6 weeks. The first Mass celebrated at its altar in Oct. 1908 in the new church named San Salvador, a mission church of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Bryan, Texas. An historical marker was erected in 1974.  The Church is still in use today.