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Parish History

As many long time Terra Lindans already know, this valley was populated by Portuguese immigrants in the 19th century. Telltale signs remain that boast of these immigrants in the names of Freitas and Silveira. The Freitas family, the most familiar name, owned the land where St. Isabella's church was built in 1961.

Upon granting the San Francisco Archdiocese the land on which to build a church for the growing Terra Linda/Marinwood and Lucas Valleys, the Freitas family, who were so devoted to their patronage, asked the Archdiocese to dedicate and name the new parish after their Queen of Portugal, St. Isabella.

Queen Isabella was born in 1271 into an obviously privileged life, however, she dedicated herself to helping the poor by establishing orphanges and hospitals, as well as housing the homeless. Often depicted wearing an apron, St. Isabella hid bread in her garment to feed the poor. Her unfaithful husband, King Denis, no fan of her work with the destitute, confronted his Queen about her apron's contents. Upon unfurling it, the bread St. Isabella had hidden had miraculously turned to roses, echoing the same phenomenon her great-aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, had demonstrated before her under similar circumstances.

Much of St. Isabella's personal life was filled with strife, as she sought to mediate feuds between her father and grandfather, her son and husband, and her son and grandson. For this, she became known as The Peacemaker.

She died in 1336 and was canonized almost 300 years later in1625. At her canonization she became known as St. Elizabeth of Portugal. One miracle sited in granting Queen Isabella sainthood was the story of a carpenter who fell from a roof. On falling, he prayed to the Queen and was promptly saved from the deadly fall by being restored to his original postion on the roof.

In Portugal, her feast day on July 4 is known as Rainha Santa, literally, Queen Saint, and is a widely celebrated day in all the country.