The first St. Ignatius Church was a simple, wooden structure and was dedicated in July 1855, only six years after the first Jesuit Fathers arrived in San Francisco from Italy. A three-story brick school building was built adjacent to it in 1862, into which the St. Ignatius Church worshipping community moved its services. The church grew to accommodate the needs of the growing city, and the first grand St. Ignatius Church was built and dedicated in 1880 and stood on the site now occupied by Davies Symphony Hall.
After its destruction by fire following the 1906 earthquake, the Jesuits moved to the western edge of the city near Golden Gate Park. The Jesuits acquired a piece of land atop the hill so that the church would be visible from all parts of the city. The new church was dedicated on August 2, 1914, and has become a San Francisco landmark.
St. Ignatius Church has the benefit of being situated on the campus of the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit university. This geographical proximity allows the church’s community to be at the center of many educational opportunities and to benefit from the tradition of education within the Jesuit order.
Photography Credit Ryan Fitzsimmons