The Mortuary Chapel is perhaps as fine a piece of work as any in the whole Mission chain. It is beautiful even now in its sad dilapidation. It was crowned with a domed roof of heavy cement. The entrance was by the door in the church to the right of the main entrance. The room is octagonal, with the altar in a recess, over which is a dome of brick, with a small lantern. At each point of the octagon there is an engaged column, built of circular-fronted brick which run to a point at the rear and are thus built into the wall. A three-membered cornice crowns each column, which supports arches that reach from one column to another. There are two windows, one to the southeast, the other northwest. The altar is at the northeast. There are two doorways, with stairways which lead to a small outlook over the altar and the whole interior. These were for the watchers of the dead, so that at a glance they might see that nothing was disturbed.
[Illustration: BELFRY WINDOW, MISSION SAN FERNANDO REY.]
[Illustration: GRAVEYARD, RUINS OF MORTUARY CHAPEL AND TOWER, MISSION SAN LUIS REY.]
[Illustration: SIDE OF MISSION SAN LUIS REY.]
[Illustration: THE CAMPANILE AT PALA.]
The altar and its recess are most interesting, the rear wall of the former being decorated in classic design.
This chapel is of the third order of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan Order. In the oval space over the arch which spans the entrance to the altar are the “arms” of the third order, consisting of the Cross and the five wounds (the stigmata) of Christ, which were conferred upon St. Francis as a special sign of divine favor.
Father Wallischeck is now (1913) arranging for the complete restoration of this beautiful little chapel and appeals for funds to aid in the work.
“Beautiful for situation” was the spot selected for the only Mission founded during the first decade of the nineteenth century,—Santa Ines.
Governor Borica, who called California “the most peaceful and quiet country on earth,” and under whose orders Padre Lasuen had established the five Missions of 1796-1797, had himself made explorations in the scenic mountainous regions of the coast, and recommended the location afterwards determined upon, called by the Indians Alajulapu, meaning rincon, or corner.
The native population was reported to number over a thousand, and the fact that they were frequently engaged in petty hostilities among themselves rendered it necessary to employ unusual care in initiating the new enterprise. Presidente Tapis therefore asked the governor for a larger guard than was generally assigned for protecting the Missions, and a sergeant and nine men were ordered for that purpose.