The Templo de San Jose, was originally founded in 1559 by the Jesuits. Because of various earthquakes, the temple collapsed completely in 1696, but was rebuilt in 1728. The convent was finished in 1744, and was used by the monks of San Jose, who were known as “Spanish Capuchinas” or also as “de arriba” meaning “the highly ones”, to distinguish them from the “Indian Capuchinas” or “de abajo” meaning “the lesser ones”, which occupied the adjacent convent to the Templo de los Siete Principes. According to an inscription still preserved on the archway in one of the building’s rooms, it was the governing Manuel de Landeta, representative of the inheritance of Gomez Marquez, who financed the bulk of the work completed under the direction and with the help of Bishop Tomás Montaño, on a piece of property donated by a wealthy indigenous woman named Maria.
The church is small and simple in its interior decoration, with a certain purity and elegance to its architectural lines.
In 1893 the Ex-convent was acquired by the Archbishop Gillow, and was used as a refuge for orphans and elderly, being abandoned after the revolution. It is currently under the administration of the Autonomous University Benito Juárez of Oaxaca and has been home to the School of Fine Arts since 1950.