On the walls are some of the ancient paintings, one especially noteworthy. It is of Christ multiplying the loaves and fishes (John vi. II). While it is not a great work of art, the benignity and sweetness of the Christ face redeem it from crudeness. With upraised right hand he is blessing the loaves which rest in his left hand, while the boy with the fishes kneels reverently at his feet.
The University of Santa Clara is now rapidly erecting its new buildings, in a modified form of Mission architecture, to meet its enlarging needs The buildings, when completed, will present to the world a great institution of learning—the oldest west of the Rocky Mountains—well equipped in every department for the important labor in the education of the Catholic youth of California and the west that it has undertaken.
For thirteen years the heart of the venerable Serra was made sick by the postponements in the founding of this Mission. The Viceroy de Croix had ordered Governor Rivera “to recruit seventy-five soldiers for the establishment of a presidio and three Missions in the channel of Santa Barbara: one towards the north of the channel, which was to be dedicated to the Immaculate Conception; one towards the south, dedicated to San Buenaventura, and a third in the centre, dedicated to Santa Barbara.”
It was with intense delight that Serra received a call from Governor Neve, who, in February, 1782, informed him that he was prepared to proceed at once to the founding of the Missions of San Buenaventura and Santa Barbara. Although busy training his neophytes, he determined to go in person and perform the necessary ceremonies. Looking about for a padre to accompany him, and all his own coadjutors being engaged, he bethought him of Father Pedro Benito Cambon, a returned invalid missionary from the Philippine Islands, who was recuperating at San Diego. He accordingly wrote Padre Cambon, requesting him, if possible, to meet him at San Gabriel. On his way to San Gabriel, Serra passed through the Indian villages of the channel region, and could not refrain from joyfully communicating the news to the Indians that, very speedily, he would return to them, and establish Missions in their midst.
In the evening of March 18, Serra reached Los Angeles, and next evening, after walking to San Gabriel, weighed down with his many cares, and weary with his long walk, he still preached an excellent sermon, it being the feast of the patriarch St. Joseph. Father Cambon had arrived, and after due consultation with him and the governor, the date for the setting out of the expedition was fixed for Tuesday, March 26. The week was spent in confirmation services and other religious work, and, on the date named, after solemn mass, the party set forth. It was the most imposing procession ever witnessed in California up to that time, and called forth many gratified remarks from Serra. There were seventy soldiers, with their captain, commander for the new presidio, ensign, sergeant, and corporals. In full gubernatorial dignity followed Governor Neve, with ten soldiers of the Monterey company, their wives and families, servants and neophytes.