Throughout San Antonio you will see this distinctive shape, depicted here on the City of San Antonio logo. You’ll also see it in the seven windows on the old Joskes Department Store at Alamo & Commerce (now the shops at Rivercenter) and even embedded in the sidewalk at the intersection of S. St. Mary’s and Eagleland. It’s everywhere! It’s the Rose Window — Ventana Rosa — on the south wall of the church sacristy at Mission San José.
Sculpted in 1775, the Rose Window is considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in North America.
The legend is that is was sculpted by a Spaniard named Pedro Huizar, commissioned to carve a religious window at San José. Instead. he carved a monument to his sweetheart, Rosa. When the window was complete, he sent for her, but she died in a shipwreck on her way to New Spain. Huizar spent the rest of his life celibate and penitent, carving the religious portal above the entrance to the church. It’s not true, of course, but isn’t a beautiful story?
Even if you don’t go on one of the longer Saturday walks that will take you by Mission San José, it’s worth a special trip to see Rosa’s Window.