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.

Here are a large number of interesting relics and memorials of Serra and the early Mission days.  The chief of these is a reliquary case, made by an Indian at San Carlos to hold certain valuable relics which Serra highly prized.  Some of these are bones from the Catacombs, and an Agnus Dei of wax.  Serra himself wrote the list of contents on a slip of paper, which is still intact on the back of the case.  This reliquary used to be carried in procession by Serra on each fourth of November, and is now used by Father Mestris in like ceremonials.


[Illustration:  MISSION SAN CARLOS.]



In the altar space or sanctuary are five chairs, undoubtedly brought to California by one of the Philippine galleons from one of those islands, or from China.  The bodies are of teak, ebony, or ironwood, with seats of marble, and with a disk of marble in the back.

In the sacristy is the safe in which Serra used to keep the sacred vessels, as well as the important papers connected with his office.  It is an interesting object, sheeted with iron, wrapped around with iron bands and covered all over with bosses.  It is about three feet wide and four feet high.  In the drawers close by are several of the copes, stoles, maniples, and other vestments which were once used by Serra at the old Mission.



The third Mission of the series was founded in honor of San Antonio de Padua, July 14, 1771, by Serra, accompanied by Padres Pieras and Sitjar.  One solitary Indian heard the dedicatory mass, but Serra’s enthusiasm knew no bounds.  He was assured that this “first fruit of the wilderness” would go forth and bring many of his companions to the priests.  Immediately after the mass he hastened to the Indian, lavished much attention on him, and gave him gifts.  That same day many other Indians came and clearly indicated a desire to stay with such pleasant company.  They brought pine-nuts and acorns, and the padres gave them in exchange strings of glass beads of various colors.

At once buildings were begun, in which work the Indians engaged with energy, and soon church and dwellings, surrounded by a palisade, were completed.  From the first the Indians manifested confidence in the padres, and the fifteen days that Padre Serra remained were days of intense joy and gladness at seeing the readiness of natives to associate with him and his brother priests.  Without delay they began to learn the language of the Indians, and when they had made sufficient progress they devoted much time to catechising them.  In two years 158 natives were baptized and enrolled, and instead of relying upon the missionaries for food, they brought in large quantities of acorns, pine-nuts, squirrels, and rabbits.  The Mission being located in the heart of the mountains, where pine and oak trees grew luxuriantly, the pine-nut and acorn were abundant.  Before the end of 1773 the church and dwellings were all built, of adobe, and three soldiers, who had married native women, were living in separate houses.

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