The Old Franciscan Missions Of California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about The Old Franciscan Missions Of California.

[1] In 1787 Padre Palou published, in the City of Mexico, his “Life and Apostolic Labors of the Venerable Padre Junipero Serra.”  This has never yet been translated, until this year, 1913, the bi-centenary of his birth, when I have had the work done by a competent scholar, revised by the eminent Franciscan historian, Father Zephyrin Englehardt, with annotations.  It is a work of over three hundred pages, and is an important contribution to the historic literature of California.



AT Padre Serra’s death Fermin Francisco Lasuen was chosen to be his successor as padre-presidente.  At the time of his appointment he was the priest in charge at San Diego.  He was elected by the directorate of the Franciscan College of San Fernando, in the City of Mexico, February 6, 1785, and on March 13, 1787, the Sacred Congregation at Rome confirmed his appointment, according to him the same right of confirmation which Serra had exercised.  In five years this Father confirmed no less than ten thousand, one hundred thirty-nine persons.

Santa Barbara was the next Mission to be founded.  For awhile it seemed that it would be located at Montecito, now the beautiful and picturesque suburb of its larger sister; but President Lasuen doubtless chose the site the Mission now occupies.  Well up on the foothills of the Sierra Santa Ines, it has a commanding view of valley, ocean and islands beyond.  Indeed, for outlook, it is doubtful if any other Mission equals it.  It was formally dedicated on December 4, 1786.

Various obstacles to the establishment of Santa Barbara had been placed in the way of the priests.  Governor Fages wished to curtail their authority, and sought to make innovations which the padres regarded as detrimental in the highest degree to the Indians, as well as annoying and humiliating to themselves.  This was the reason of the long delay in founding Santa Barbara.  It was the same with the following Mission.  It had long been decided upon.  Its site was selected.  The natives called it Algsacupi.  It was to be dedicated “to the most pure and sacred mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Queen of Angels, and Our Lady,” a name usually, however, shortened in Spanish parlance to “La Purisima Concepcion.”  On December 8, 1787, Lasuen blessed the site, raised the cross, said mass and preached a sermon; but it was not until March, 1788, that work on the buildings was begun.  An adobe structure, roofed with tiles, was completed in 1802, and, ten years later, destroyed by earthquake.

The next Mission founded by Lasuen was that of Santa Cruz.  On crossing the coast range from Santa Clara, he thus wrote:  “I found in the site the most excellent fitness which had been reported to me.  I found, beside, a stream of water, very near, copious, and important.  On August 28, the day of Saint Augustine, I said mass, and raised a cross on the spot where the establishment is to be.  Many gentiles came, old and young, of both sexes, and showed that they would gladly enlist under the Sacred Standard.  Thanks be to God!”

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The Old Franciscan Missions Of California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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