Since the 19th century, St. Catherine of Siena has been an integral part of the history of Martinez and pf California. The parish and parishioners have played a strong role in the tradition and growth of our community.
Prior to the California Gold Rush of 1849, Martinez sat within Mexican territory, which was made up of a pastoral valley divided up by ranchos. With the discovery of gold and the establishment of Californian statehood, a rush of settlers and prospectors populated the region.
On October 9th, 1949 John J. Mitty, Archbishop of San Francisco, dedicated St. Catherine of Siena School and convent. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet arrived in Martinez and began their first year in 1949 with 250 students enrolled.
St. Catherine of Siena School has been an academic constant ever since, educating thousands of Martinez students and developing the leaders and contributors that enrich the city of Martinez.
St. Catherine of Siena is one of the oldest parishes in the Diocese of Oakland and it has played a significant role in the history of the diocese as well as the history of the community around it. Known as the “mother church” of East Contra Costa County, the city of Martinez and St. Catherine Church grew up together.