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.

The old Mission vineyard, where the grapes used to thrive, is now converted into a garden.  A number of the old olive trees still remain.  Of the three original bells of the Mission, two still call the faithful to worship.  One was broken and had to be recast in San Francisco.

On the altar, there are angels with flambeaux in their hands, of wooden carving.  These are deemed the work of the Indians.  There are also several old statues of the saints, including San Joaquin, Santa Ana, San Juan Capistrano, and Santa Colette.  In the sodality chapel, also, there are statues of San Francisco and San Antonio.  The altar rail of the restored Santa Clara church was made from the beams of the old Mission.  These were of redwood, secured from the Santa Cruz mountains, and, I believe, are the earliest specimens of redwood used for lumber in California The rich natural coloring and the beauty of the grain and texture have improved with the years The old octagonal pulpit, though not now used is restored and honored, standing upon a modern pedestal.

Santa Clara was noted for the longevity of some of its Indians.  One of them, Gabriel, who died in 1891 or 1892 at the hospital in Salinas, claimed he was a grandfather when Serra came in 1767.  He must have been over 150 years old when he died.  Another, Inigo, was known to be 101 years of age at his death.

In a room in the college building is gathered together an interesting collection of articles belonging to the old Mission.  Here are the chairs of the sanctuary, processional candlesticks, pictures, and the best bound book in the State—­an old choral.  It rests on a stand at the end of the room.  The lids are of wood, covered with thick leather and bound in very heavy bronze, with bosses half an inch high.  Each corner also has bronze protuberances, half an inch long, that stand out on the bottom, or edge of the cover, so that they raise the whole book.  The volume is of heaviest vellum and is entirely hand-written in red and black; and though a century or more has passed since it was written it is clear and perfect, has 139 pages.  The brothers of the college have placed this inscription over it:  “Ancient choral, whose wooden cover, leather bound and covered in bronze, came, probably, originally from Spain, and has age of some 500 years.”

In a case which extends across the room are ancient vestments, the key of the old Mission, statuary brackets from the ancient altar, the altar bell, crown of thorns from the Mission crucifix, altar card-frames, and the rosary and crucifix that once belonged to Padre Magin Catala.

Padre Catala, the good man of Santa Clara, is deemed by the leaders of the Catholic Church in California to be worthy the honors and elevation of sainthood, and proceedings are now in operation before the highest Court of the Church in Rome to see whether he is entitled to these posthumous honors.  The Franciscan historian for California, Father Zephyrin Englehardt, has written a book entitled The Holy Man of Santa Clara, in which not only the life of Padre Catala is given, but the whole of the procedure necessary to convince the Church tribunal of his worth and sainthood.  The matter is not yet (1913) settled.

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