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Church history

By the end of the 1950's, Blessed Sacrament's congregation had overgrown the church's capacities and the Archdiocese of San Francisco determined that there must be a division of the congregation based on the addresses of the congregation. Anyone living south of Puerto Suelo Hill would become a member of St. Raphael's Church & Parish located in central San Rafael.  All those who lived in Santa Venetia, Los Ranchitos, and San Rafael Meadows would remain with the Blessed Sacrament Church. Anyone living north of these areas would form a new parish in Terra Linda.

In January of 1959, in memory of their parents, the children of Manuel and Maria Freitas donated the last ten acres of the "Home Ranch" to the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, as the new site for the parish.  Archbishop John J. Mitty established the new parish.  He named Reverend Edward Dingberg as the first Pastor.  Fr. Dingberg honored the only request that the Freitas children had made when donating the land: to name the new parish after St. Isabella, the patroness of Portugal.

The original architectural plans for the St. Isabella's site included the school, a rectory, the church, and a gym.  Our current church building was originally constructed as the gym.  The church was to be built behind the garden with the statue of St. Isabella, on the highest knoll of the property.  However, when the gym was built and used as a "temporary" church, it became apparent that the size and location of the "temporary" church was more than adequate to meet the needs of the parish.

The rectory was built next, and in 1962, the school was operational.   In 1964, the Parish Center was constructed, and after the death of Fr. Dingberg in 1976, Reverend Monsignor Francis A. Lacy became the pastor of St. Isabella's.  Monsignor Lacy stayed at St. Isabella's until 1989, followed by Reverend Hansen.  In 1989,  Reverend Michael J. Keane became the new pastor and remained until his death in 2007. 

Reverend Cyril J. O'Sullivan is our pastor, July 1, 2019 to present.