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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Mission San Juan Bautista


1. Mission Garden Red Rose, 2. Proud Papa, 3. Blue Door, 4. Supplication

Last Thursday, I decided to explore San Juan Bautista, a town that I pass daily on my commute to Hollister. I specifically went to see the Old Mission San Juan Bautista. It was a beautiful, windy, bright day and I got a lot of cool pictures. From the Mission Website:

The Old Mission San Juan Bautista...
...began with a group of leather-jacketed soldiers and a few Native Americans watching a tonsured Franciscan priest raise his eyes and hands toward the sky...

"In the name of our blessed Father, and the saint whose feast we commemorate today, St. John the Baptist..."

The day was June 24, 1797, a Saturday, and the priest was Fr. Fermin de Lasuen, Presidente of the California Missions successor to Blessed Junipero Serra. This mission was one of four established by Fr. Lasuen in the summer of 1797 and the fifteenth of the twenty-one missions in Alta, California.

Construction began almost immediately under the care of Fathers Jose Manuel de Martiarena and Pedro Martinez. By Christmas, because of the friendly and cooperative indigenous people, not only was there an adobe church built but also a grainary, barracks, a monastery, and some adobe houses...

The mission was also one of the sites Hitchcock used for his film, Vertigo. I enjoyed the gardens and was especially captivated by the chickens. I didn't get a chance to explore the Plaza Hotel or the Plaza Stables, so I might try and stop by there next week. I always feel weird about visiting Old Missions in California. On one hand, I am amazed by the history behind one of the few "old" things we have here on the West Coast. On the other hand, the exploitation of native people, the forced assimilation and even the whole idea of a Christian Mission are really disturbing to me. Visiting this site, I tried to hang on to the delusional idea that the ancient Spaniards had good intentions when they founded the Mission nearly two hundred years ago.

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