Heritage Trail Walking Tour

Heritage Trail Walking Tour

Alamo Heights, Texas 78209, United States

Created By: Heritage Center, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word

Tour Information

The Heritage Trail is made up of historic sites that are significant to the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, and to the community of San Antonio. The first Sisters arrived in San Antonio in 1869 and opened Santa Rosa Infirmary. In 1897, Mother Madeleine Chollet negotiated the purchase of 297 acres of the George W. Brackenridge, including his home. The Sisters moved their administrative offices and formation house to this location, immediately starting the construction of a Motherhouse (1900). A few years later, needing a large space for all of the Sisters to worship together, the Motherhouse Chapel was built (1907). The two sites are included in this walking tour; other sites are the convent cemetery, the Heritage Center exhibit (A Life for God and a Heart for Others), the Brackenridge Villa, Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, the Headwaters at Incarnate Word, and the Blue Hole (the headwaters of the San Antonio River).

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The Incarnate Word Cemetery was dedicated in 1928. The mortal remains of many of the early Sisters, including Rev. Mother Madeleine Chollet and Rev. Mother Pierre Cinquin, were transferred here in 1930. This is holy ground and a place of pr... Read more
The Chapel of the Incarnate Word was dedicated on May 30, 1907. A place of prayer and celebration, the Chapel stands both as the symbolic center of the life of the Congregation and of our presence in the community. The Chapel has been in co... Read more
The physical spaces that make up the Incarnate Word Heritage Center include, among others, the Chapel of the Incarnate Word, the exhibit, “A Life for God and a Heart for Others,” the Convent Cemetery, the Brackenridge/Sweet House, and t... Read more
Construction of the Motherhouse began shortly after the property (now campus) was purchased in 1897 from Colonel George W. Brackenridge.  The Motherhouse contained the convent, novitiate, College and Academy of the Incarnate Word. Here, t... Read more
What is known today as the Brackenridge Villa was first the Sweet Homestead, built near the headwaters of the San Antonio River by James R. Sweet, a city alderman whose purchase of the headwaters land effectively gave him control of the cit... Read more
Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto was built in 1904, to mark the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a replica of the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. It is a spe... Read more
The San Antonio Spring, also called the Blue Hole, is a famous artesian spring on the Congregational heritage land of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Indigenous peoples here at the time of colonization called the springs Yanag... Read more
Established in 2008, the Headwaters at Incarnate Word preserves 53 acres of spring-filled land. The Sisters dedicated this area to the conservation of the land as an expression of their commitment to care for the Earth. The Congregation's H... Read more


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