The twenty-one Missions in California stand here as the reminders of the Spanish expansion into the region. Within the time of 54 years, from 1769 to 1823, they introduced a new culture and brought European customs and manners here. They also built 5 Presidios (forts for the army).
Life in California Missions
The Spaniards established Missions http://www.sanluisrey.org/museum/history/ with a view to colonize the region. Each of them consisted of a church, a fort and a town also known as pueblo. While the forts with the soldiers ensured safety of life for the padres, the town took care of their daily life. They brought the Natives from Mexico to stay in the Mission as labourers.
The design of the Mission site resembled to that of a fenced-around city. The church stood at one side with the forts and towns at the other. There was a large open area in between.
The life in these Missions at the height of their growth depicted a beautiful picture. The entire area was a hub of activity with business thriving. Trades prospered and one can see thousands of herdsmen and tillers all around. Young men playing musical instruments, children in schools; religious festivals with people dancing around, the sight was truly spectacular. The courtyard of Mission buildings was decorated with beautiful gardens. Orchards, fruits of all kinds, olive trees and different crops enriched the Missions.
The Missions became richer with years. History informs that some of the church buildings were built using huge stones, the most splendid in the entire nation. They were able to take care of thousands of residents there and govern flourishing trade. The residents were also skilled in European arts. There were also shops for everything under the sun; from weaving baskets to tanning.
A large portion of the land was used to cultivate crops of all kinds, fruits, olive trees and a lot more. They also had the largest number of horses and sheep. Records state that thousands of Native Indians lived here in obedience to the Catholic beliefs working hard for their masters.
As time passed by, the early glory of the Missions began to disappear. Still, a majority of them are owned and operated by the Catholic Church. They are active parishes helping the congregation in its spiritual life.
Old Mission San Luis Rey
The most renowned among these Missions which maintains its original splendour is Old Mission San Luis Rey. The eighteenth among the California Missions, this welcome all who want to bask in the beauty of nature. Bible study, retreats, guided tours, cooking classes; your options are vast here. You can also have your pets blessed on October 4th, on St. Francis Assisi’s feast day. Visit Mission Museum http://www.sanluisrey.org/museum/ and get all info about Mission history and past days.
Explore California Missions along with your family. Your children would love to be here. They talk of a glorious past of the land. Get away with the gloomy history lessons you were being taught of the Mission life for the Indians. There are great contributions which went unnoticed. All this would come to life if you spend some time in any of these Missions. More on this link http://www.sanluisrey.org/museum/
Contact Person: Maureen Sullivan
E-mail: [email protected]
Old Mission San Luis Rey de Francia
Address: 4050 Mission Avenue, Oceanside, CA 92057-6402
Tel/Fax: (760) 757-3651