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.

Further away in the court are the remnants of what may have been another fountain, the reservoir of which is made of brick, built into a singular geometrical figure.  This is composed of eight semicircles, with V’s connecting them, the apex of each V being on the outside.  It appears like an attempt at creating a conventionalized flower in brick.

Two hundred yards or so away from the monastery is a square structure, the outside of boulders.  Curiosity prompting, you climb up, and on looking in you find that inside this framework of boulders are two circular cisterns of brick, fully six feet in diameter across the top, decreasing in size to the bottom, which is perhaps four feet in diameter.

In March, 1905, considerable excitement was caused by the actions of the parish priest of San Fernando, a Frenchman named Le Bellegny, of venerable appearance and gentle manners.  Not being acquainted with the status quo of the old Mission, he exhumed the bodies of the Franciscan friars who had been buried in the church and reburied them.  He removed the baptismal font to his church, and unroofed some of the old buildings and took the tiles and timbers away.  As soon as he understood the matter he ceased his operations, but, unfortunately, not before considerable damage was done.



The last Mission of the century, the last of Lasuen’s administration, and the last south of Santa Barbara, was that of San Luis Rey.  Lasuen himself explored the region and determined the site.  The governor agreed to it, and on February 27, 1798, ordered a guard to be furnished from San Diego who should obey Lasuen implicitly and help erect the necessary buildings for the new Mission.  The founding took place on June 13, in the presence of Captain Grajera and his guard, a few San Juan neophytes, and many gentiles, Presidente Lasuen performing the ceremonies, aided by Padres Peyri and Santiago.  Fifty-four children were baptized at the same time, and from the very start the Mission was prosperous.  No other missionary has left such a record as Padre Peyri.  He was zealous, sensible, and energetic.  He knew what he wanted and how to secure it.  The Indians worked willingly for him, and by the 1st of July six thousand adobes were made for the church.  By the end of 1800 there were 237 neophytes, 617 larger stock, and 1600 sheep.

The new church was completed in 1801-1802, but Peyri was too energetic to stop at this.  Buildings of all kinds were erected, and neophytes gathered in so that by 1810 its population was 1519, with the smallest death rate of any Mission.  In 1811 Peyri petitioned the governor to allow him to build a new and better church of adobes and bricks; but as consent was not forthcoming, he went out to Pala, and in 1816 established a branch establishment, built a church, and the picturesque campanile now known all over the world, and soon had a thousand converts tilling the soil and attending the services of the church.

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