Continuing our visit, this is California's first mission established in 1769. There is a wealth of information on its history at this website. Today we go into the gardens which are lovely.
Outside I read the following and I am repeating some of the information at the beginning of yesterday's post: "Padre Luis Jayme - Born Melchor Jayme on October 18, 1740 in the farming village of San Juan, Majorca, Spain.
In 1760 he was received into the Franciscan Order and chose "Luis" as his religious name. Padre Jayme became pastor of the Mission San Diego in 1771 and was instrumental in moving the Mission inland from the Presidio to the present site in August of 1774. By December of that year, a number of adobe and thatch buildings were constructed. Crops were planted and many natives joined the mission life and were baptized as Christians.
Progress was being made until the early morning hours of November 5th, 1775, when hundreds of natives from surrounding rancherias set fire to the Mission buildings, pillaged the church and Padre Jayme was killed as he met them with his usual greeting, "jAmar a Dios, hijos - Love God my children!"
(This above photo and the cropped version below shows a statue of St. Francis)
"Padre Jayme became California's first Christian martyr because of his self-sacrifice, devotions, faith and love. His remains are buried in the sanctuary of the church at Mission San Diego de Alcala."
(This is a statue of Father Junipero Serra)
A sign in the gardens tells us that "The Campanario is 46 feet high and holds the Mission bells. The crown-topped bell on the lower right is named Ave Maria Parisma - Immaculate Mary. It weighs 805 pounds and was cast in 1802. A crown-topped bell was usually supplied by the Spanish King and cast in the royal foundry in Barcelona at the King's expense or made in a country ruled by Spain. Ave Maria Parisma was in the vestibule of St. Joseph's church and was hung in the campanario after the reconstruction of Mission San Diego in 1931.
The bell on the lower left is called the Mater Dolorosa - Our Lady of Sorrows. It weighs 1200 pounds and was recast by the Standard Iron Works of San Diego in 1894 from bell fragments found in the vicinity of the Mission.
The bells played an important role in the everyday life of the Mission. A sequence of tones and rhythms was developed for each occasion. They were used to announce times for Mass, work, meals and siestas. The bells signaled danger, rang solemnly to honor the dead and pealed joyously to celebrate feast days, weddings and fiestas.
Gregg walking along the corridor.
These show a few of the Saints mentioned before, representing the other nine missions. They were behind a grid of iron fencing, but I was able to capture five free of obstruction by placing my lens between the bars.
Just before we left, a group of young people arrived. You can just make out Gregg on the right as he waited for them to go into the Mission. I think what we were witnessing and felt privileged to see was a young girl's Quinceañera, a celebration when a girl reaches 15, a transition from childhood to young womanhood so I read. (Click on the name where you can learn more if interested.) The young lady wore a long, strapless, bright red gown, one of the young men, her escort I believe, wore a white tux. The couple looked very striking and at the time I remember thinking they must have only been about 15 or so.
This was the vehicle they arrived in.
Their arrival coincided with our departure, as we had looked around for some time and were ready to move on.
Notice those bright red orbs? They are from a pomegranate tree. I have never seen a pomegranate tree before, and the one on the grounds was loaded with their fruit.
We came across the large white stone cross in a section of the garden.
This is the bell from the Spanish King.
I am very glad we got the chance to visit the Mission. When we lived here all those years ago we never knew what we had missed, although I do remember visiting another in the area.
I am very happy we came back as tourists. We got to see a lot for the first time. It seemed we were busy with other priorities back in those days and we were much younger of course. With busy schedules, Gregg with his navy days in full swing, and me being a navy wife with many responsibilities, looking after a small child who was my biggest responsibility and wouldn't have had it any other way of course, I didn't realize we were missing so many beautiful places. All the more reason to come back at an age where we not only had the time, but could appreciate them, and we certainly did.
Another place I would enjoy going back to one day.