Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

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For the novel by Thornton Wilder, see The Bridge of San Luis Rey.
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia
Today, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is well maintained. This Mission is architecturally distinctive due to the combination of Spanish Renaissance, MoorishMudéjar, and Spanish Colonial architecture styles.
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is located in California
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia
Location of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia in California
Location 4050 Mission Ave.
Oceanside, California 92057
Coordinates 33°13′57″N 117°19′13″W / 33.23250°N 117.32028°W / 33.23250; -117.32028Coordinates: 33°13′57″N 117°19′13″W / 33.23250°N 117.32028°W / 33.23250; -117.32028
Name as founded La Misión de San Luis, Rey de Francia [1]
English translation The Mission of Saint Louis, King of France
Patron Louis IX of France [2]
Nickname(s) "King of the Missions" [3]
Founding date June 13, 1798 [4]
Founding priest(s) Father Fermín de Lasuén [5]
Area 35 acres (14 ha)
Built 1815
Architectural style(s) Other, Spanish Cruciform
Founding Order Eighteenth [2]
Military district First (El Presidio Reál de San Diego) [6][7]
Native tribe(s)
Spanish name(s)
Kumeyaay, Quechnajuichom
Luiseño & Diegueño 'Mission Indians'
Native place name(s) QuechingaQuechla [8][9]
Baptisms 5,399 [10]
Marriages 1,335 [10]
Burials 2,718 [10]
Neophyte population 2,788 [11][12]
Secularized 1834 [2]
Returned to the Church 1865 [2]
Governing body Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego
Current use Parish/Museum/Cemetery/Retreat House
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
NRHP official name San Luis Rey Mission Church
NRHP designation date April 15, 1970[13]
NRHP # 70000142[13]
U.S. National Historic Landmark
NHL designation date April 15, 1970[14]
California Historical Landmark
CHISL # #239
Website
http://www.sanluisrey.org/

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is a former Spanish mission in the present-day city of Oceanside, California. The mission was founded on June 13, 1798 by Padre Fermín Lasuén, and was the eighteenth of the Spanish missions established in California. Named for Saint Louis, the mission lent its name to the Luiseño tribe of Mission Indians.

The current church, built in 1811, is the third church on this location.[15] It is a National Historic Landmark, for its pristine example of a Spanish mission church complex.[14][16][17] Today the mission complex functions as a parish church of the Diocese of San Diego as well as a museum and retreat center.

Spanish Era[edit]

The first non-natives to see the mission site were members of the 1769 Portola expedition. Padre Juan Crespi noted in his diary on July 18 that it would be a good spot for future establishment of a mission. He named the place "San Juan Capistrano", but that name was used instead for the mission founded further north in 1776.[18] The area became a standard camping stop on the road connecting the missions, until the mission establishment 29 years later.

The original name La Misión de San Luis, Rey de Francia (The Mission of Saint Louis, King of France) was named for King Louis IX of France.[1][2] Its 'nickname' was "King of the Missions"[3] It was founded by padre Fermín Lasuén on June 13, 1798, the eighteenth of the twenty-one Spanish missions built in the Alta California Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.[2][4][5] At its prime, Mission San Luis Rey's structures and services compound covered almost 950,400 acres (3.846×109 m2), making it one of the largest of the missions, along with its surrounding agricultural land.[19] Two outposts were built in support of Mission San Luis Rey and placed under its supervision: San Antonio de Pala Asistencia in 1816 and Las Flores Estancia in 1823.

An early account of life at the Mission was written by one of its Native American converts, Luiseño Pablo Tac, in his work Indian Life and Customs at Mission San Luis Rey: A Record of California Mission Life by Pablo Tac, An Indian Neophyte (written c.1835 in Rome, later edited and translated in 1958 by Minna Hewes and Gordon Hewes). In his book, Tac lamented the rapid population decline of his Luiseño people after the founding of the mission:

"In Quechla not long ago there were 5,000 souls, with all their neighboring lands. Through a sickness that came to California, 2,000 souls died, and 3,000 were left."[9]

The Mission-born, Franciscan-educated Tac wrote that his people initially attempted to bar the Spaniards from invading their Southern California lands. When the foreigners approached:

"...the chief stood up...and met them," demanding, "...what are you looking for? Leave our Country!"

Pablo Tac went on to describe the preferential conditions and treatment the padres received:

"In the mission of San Luis Rey de Francia the Fernandiño [sic] father is like a king. He has his pages, alcaldes, majordomos, musicians, soldiers, gardens, ranchos, livestock...."[20]

Mexican and early American eras[edit]

The first Peruvian Pepper Tree (Schinus molle) in California was planted here in 1830, now iconic, widely planted, and renamed the California Pepper tree in the state. During the Mexican-American War in Alta California (1846–1847), the Mission was utilized as a military outpost by the United States Army.[19]

In July 1847, U.S. military governor of California Richard Barnes Mason created an Indian sub-agency at Mission San Luis Rey, and his men took charge of the mission property in August, appointing Jesse Hunter from the recently arrived Mormon Battalion as sub-agent. Battalion guide Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the Native American Shoshone child of Sacagawea who had traveled with the Lewis and Clark Expedition forty years earlier, was appointed by Mason as the Alcalde "within the District of San Diego, at or near San Luis Rey" in November 1847. Charbonneau resigned from the post in August, 1848, claiming that "because of his Indian heritage others thought him biased when problems arose between the Indians and the other inhabitants of the district."[21]

Secularization to present[edit]

The courtyard of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, with the first Peruvian Pepper Tree (Schinus molle) planted in California in 1830, visible behind the arch.[19]

With secularization of the mission in 1834, no religious services were held and the Luiseño were left behind by the fleeing Franciscan padres. The Mission's religious services restarted in 1893, when two Mexican priests were given permission to restore the Mission as a Franciscan college.[19] Father Joseph O'Keefe was assigned as an interpreter for the monks. It was he who began to restore the old Mission in 1895. The cuadrángulo (quadrangle) and church were completed in 1905. San Luis Rey College was opened as a seminary in 1950, but closed in 1969.

The first season's episodes of the Zorro TV series were filmed here in 1957. Walt Disney added a skull and crossbones to the cemetery entrance. In 1998, Sir Gilbert Levine led members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and, with the special permission of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, the ancient Cappella Giulia Choir of St. Peter's Basilica, in a series of concerts to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the mission. These festival concerts constituted the first-ever visit of this 500 year-old choir to the Western Hemisphere. The concerts were broadcast on NPR’s “Performance Today”. In February 2013, the seismic retrofiting was completed.[22]

Today, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is a working mission, cared for by the people who belong to the parish, with ongoing restoration projects. Mission San Luis Rey has a Museum, Visitors Center, gardens with the historic Pepper Tree, and the original small cemetery.[23][24]

See also[edit]

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia as it appeared in 1986. In 1841, French explorer Eugene Duflot de Mofras produced a sketch of the Mission that depicted a second campanario, thereby supporting the theory that two bell towers were planned, but never completed; the lone tower was also used as a lookout post.[25]
The courtyard of the mission


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Leffingwell, p. 27
  2. ^ a b c d e f Krell, p. 273
  3. ^ a b Yenne, p. 158
  4. ^ a b Yenne, p. 156
  5. ^ a b Ruscin, p. 196
  6. ^ Forbes, p. 202
  7. ^ Engelhardt, San Diego Mission, pp. v, 228 "The military district of San Diego embraced the Missions of San Diego, San Luis Rey, San Juan Capistrano, and San Gabriel."
  8. ^ Ruscin, p. 195
  9. ^ a b Lightfoot, p. 108
  10. ^ a b c Krell, p. 315: as of December 31, 1832; information adapted from Engelhardt's Missions and Missionaries of California.
  11. ^ Krell, p. 315: as of December 31, 1832; information adapted from Engelhardt's Missions and Missionaries of California. Mission San Luis Rey was by far the most dominant of the Alta California missions at this time in terms of the number of neophytes attached to it.
  12. ^ Johnson, et al.: "In contrast to baptismal patterns documented at missions in much of the rest of California, Mission San Luis Rey appears to have coexisted with nearby native communities for a much longer period of time without fully absorbing their populations...This may be the result of a conscious decision by the head missionary at Mission San Luis Rey, Fr. Antonio Peyri, to permit a certain number of baptized Luiseños to remain living apart from the mission with their unconverted relatives at their rancherías [villages]. The native communities in this way gradually became converted into mission ranchos at Santa Margarita, Las Flores, Las Pulgas, San Jacinto, Temecula, Pala, etc."
  13. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  14. ^ a b "San Luis Rey Mission Church". National Historic Landmark Quicklinks. National Park Service. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  15. ^ NHL Details "San Luis Rey Mission Church". National Historic Landmarks Program. National Park Service. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  16. ^ Snell, Charles (1968). "San Luis Key Mission Church" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places – Inventory Nomination Form (National Park Service). Retrieved 22 May 2012 
  17. ^ "San Luis Key Mission Church" (pdf). Photographs. National Park Service. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  18. ^ Bolton, Herbert E. (1927). Fray Juan Crespi: Missionary Explorer on the Pacific Coast, 1769-1774. HathiTrust Digital Library. p. 131. Retrieved April 2014. 
  19. ^ a b c d Young, p. 18
  20. ^ Lightfoot, p. 105
  21. ^ Reading, Mrs. James (April 1965). "Jean Baptiste Charbonneau: The Wind River Scout". The Journal of San Diego History 11 (2). 
  22. ^ Neuman, Charlie (6 February 2013). "Mission San Luis Rey's Earthquake Retrofit". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  23. ^ "Old Mission San Luis Rey de Francia". Old Mission San Luis Rey. 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  24. ^ Old Mission San Luis Rey Cemetery
  25. ^ Krell, pp. 275–276

References[edit]

  • Engelhardt, Zephyrin, O.F.M. (1920). San Diego Mission. James H. Barry Company, San Francisco, CA. 
  • Engelhardt, Zephyrin, O.F.M. (1922). San Juan Capistrano Mission. Standard Printing Co., Los Angeles, CA. 
  • Forbes, Alexander (1839). California: A History of Upper and Lower California. Smith, Elder and Co., Cornhill, London. 
  • Johnson, John; Crawford, Dinah; O'Neil, Stephen (1998).  Missing or empty |title= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)
  • Jones, Terry L. and Kathryn A. Klar (eds.) (2007). California Prehistory: Colonization, Culture, and Complexity. Altimira Press, Landham, MD. ISBN 0-7591-0872-2. 
  • Krell, Dorothy (ed.) (1979). The California Missions: A Pictorial History. Sunset Publishing Corporation, Menlo Park, CA. ISBN 0-376-05172-8. 
  • Leffingwell, Randy (2005). California Missions and Presidios: The History & Beauty of the Spanish Missions. Voyageur Press, Inc., Stillwater, MN. ISBN 0-89658-492-5. 
  • Lightfoot, Kent G. (2004). Indians, Missionaries, and Merchants: The Legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. ISBN 0-520-20824-2. 
  • Paddison, Joshua (ed.) (1999). A World Transformed: Firsthand Accounts of California Before the Gold Rush. Heyday Books, Berkeley, CA. ISBN 1-890771-13-9. 
  • Ruscin, Terry (1999). Mission Memoirs. Sunbelt Publications, San Diego, CA. ISBN 0-932653-30-8. 
  • Yenne, Bill (2004). The Missions of California. Thunder Bay Press, San Diego, CA. ISBN 1-59223-319-8. 
  • Young, Stanley and Melba Levick (1988). The Missions of California. Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, CA. ISBN 0-8118-3694-0. 

External links[edit]