Although the parish of St. Isidore the Farmer was officially established on April 20, 1910, its history dates back to the founding of Mission San Jose. In June of 1797, Franciscan Padre Fermin Francisco de LaSuen founded the fourteenth of the twenty-one Spanish Missions in Alta California. The Mission territory encompassed rich farming lands throughout the area known today as the East Bay. By 1832, San Jose was one of the most agriculturally prosperous of all the missions. However, in 1836, Mexico won its independence from Spain and all Church property in California was secularized. In 1840 the present state of California was established and became part of the United States following the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846. In 1850, the city of Oakland was founded by gold prospectors and in 1853, the chapel of Temescal was established in the town of Martinez. This chapel, which ultimately became St. Catherine of Sienna parish in 1873, became the center of Church life in the area east of the Oakland-Berkeley hills.
In 1875, the first Mass was celebrated in Green Valley and continued to be offered on the fifth Sunday of the month at the Alamo Hotel. In 1883 the Mass schedule increased to the second and fourth Sundays. Mass was now said in the Walnut Creek Grange Hall, and the mission church of St. Mary in Walnut Creek was founded in 1884. St. Mary’s became the center of Church life in the area and the first baptism was recorded in 1892, the first marriage in 1896 and the first religious vocation in 1890. The valley continued to attract farmers and ranchers for the next twenty years and in 1910, the Parish of St. Isidore the Farmer was founded in Danville.
St. Isidore, the patron of this parish, was born in Madrid, Spain in the 12th century. For a greater part of his life he was employed as a laborer on a farm near Madrid. He was a devout man, attended Mass daily and maintained a spirit of prayer as he went about his work. He was favored with celestial visions and it is said that angels sometimes helped him in his work in the field. He was canonized in 1622.
When this parish was founded in 1910, Danville was the center of an agricultural area. For this reason "Saint Isidore the Farmer" was then chosen as the patron of our parish. Our little chapel to the right of the sanctuary is dedicated to his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza.