In 1849 Catholic priests of the missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate began mission work in Texas under the direction of Bishop Jean Marie Odin. From Brownsville, they traveled throughout the lower Rio Grande Valley, ministering to the residents of the area. Through their work in Northern Mexico, they met a Frenchman named Rene Guyard. A Reynosa merchant and a Texas landowner, Guyard made this part of his Rancho La Lomita available for the establishment of a mission to serve his ranch workers. The first chapel was constructed here in 1865. The Oblates inherited La Lomita and the nearby Nogalito Ranch following Guyard's death in 1871. A third connecting tract was purchased later with the help of an overseer, the priests hoped to produce food for their needs and to provide a profit to fund further missionary work in the area.
Although the mission was successful, the farming operation proved to be a financial burden on the Oblates. In 1909 they sold all but 400 acres to John J. Conway. A town he founded (5 miles north) was later named Mission in honor of the pioneer La Lomita Chapel, the center of early area Catholic missionary work. This site was abandoned in 1911, but later restored.