Monday, March 21, 2011

The Jewel

of The California Missions

Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano

The grounds & gardens.

After touring these gorgeous grounds, both my husband and I wanted to come home immediately and plant succulents!

The iconic bell wall adjacent to the Great Stone Church.

The back of the bell wall

 The ruins of The Great Stone Church which was completed in 1806 and destroyed in an earthquake in 1812.

 The altar

 You can see the restoration of the columns here.

The original altar steps

These are the original bells that once hung in 
The Great Stone Church.

And last, but not least, the newly conserved Serra Chapel, the only standing church where Father Junipero Serra is known to have said mass.

 I hope you enjoyed this tour of the most beautiful of all the California Missions.  Being a California girl, I grew up visiting and learning all about the missions and Father Junipero Serra, I even built a model of a mission in the 4th grade,  but somehow I managed to save the best for last!  After visiting here, I completely agree that Mission San Juan Capistrano is truly the jewel of the missions.

 I want to leave you with The Story of San Juan Capistrano's Mission Swallows which is happening right now.

The miracle of the "Swallows" of Capistrano takes place each year at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, on March 19th, St Joseph's Day.
As the faithful little birds wing their way back to the most famous mission in California, the village of San Juan Capistrano takes on a fiesta air and the visitors from all parts of the world, and all walks of life, gather in great numbers to witness the "miracle" of the return of the swallows.
Each year the "Scout Swallows" precede the main flock by a few days and it seems to be their chief duty to clear the way for the main flock to arrive at the "Old Mission" of Capistrano.
With the arrival of early dawn on St. Joseph's Day, the little birds begin to arrive and begin rebuilding their mud nests, which are clinging to the ruins of the old stone church of San Juan Capistrano. The arches of the two story, high vaulted Chapel were left bare and exposed, as the roof collapsed during the earthquake of 1812.
This Chapel, said to be the largest and most ornate in any of the missions, now has a more humble destiny--that of housing the birds that St. Francis loved so well.
After the summer spent within the sheltered walls of the Old Mission of San Juan Capistrano, the swallows take flight again, and on the day of San Juan, October 23rd, they leave after circling the Mission bidding farewell to the "JEWEL OF ALL MISSIONS".




Stitchfork said...

Enjoyed the tour through your eyes. One day I'd like to see this in person!
xo Cathy

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I love it there! My friend who lives in Aliso Viejo took us on our last visit and I was equally as enchanted as you - think she sent a photo of those bells in for one of her four lovely women images once too. Also had some delish mexican food across the street somewhere afterward :) I would love to be there to witness the return of the swallows - my mother would flip to see that.

Anonymous said...

If you have not already done so, the next time you come to Southern CA check out the beautifully restored Mission San Louis Rey in Oceanside as well as the lovely little Mission Asistencia San Antonio de Pala on the Pala Indian Reservation. You are in for a treat.

Thanks once again for the spoons :)

Pamela Hunt Lee said...

If you do create a succulent garden, make sure you post photographs of the wonderfully sculptural plants. Agave Attenuata would grow dramatically in your area and be spectacular in a succulent bed. Their flower spike is unbelievable!

Dovecote Decor said...

Loved the post! Come visit us at Dovecote Decor to see our fabulous French Basketeer Giveaway!


Acquired Objects said...

The stone church and the grounds are amazing! Thank you for taking us along on your day, it was fun to see something I've only heard of and I truly enjoyed it. Such a wonderful piece of history!

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

Swallows are my favorite birds, what a beautiful setting for them!

Angie said...

Ahhh 4th grade Mission projects. We were lucky with my son, we were able to visit the Mission and then do a scrapbook on it (which I found much more interesting than building one) Now it's my daughters turn AS I TYPE there is a mission under construction on my dinning table!! San Juan really is beautiful!!

vignette design said...

Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos of the best mission of them all! I remember building the missions in 4th grade too. All four of my kids had to do it, but of course Mom ended up doing most of the work. I would love to someday travel El Camino Real and see each and every mission in California. I feel like I actually visited San Juan Capistrano already!

Privet and Holly said...

Such a wonderful
place; I've only
been once, but I
remember it well.
Love the story, too!
Hope you are well
and enjoying the
beginning of spring,
Teri! We are headed
to our mutually
favorite CA place,
xx Suzanne

Beach House Living said...

I had the pleasure of visiting there long ago. It's an amazing place.

Unknown said...

The architecture! The gardens! What a beautiful place. I'm loving that bell wall and what is it about lily ponds that are just so calming?!
xoxo Elizabeth

lisa golightly said...

Oh this is so special to me ... one of my favorite pictures of my parents was taken here on their honeymoon adventure. Leave it to you to brighten my evening !

Seawashed said...

We took our family about 8 yrs ago to visit this mission. I loved it. I felt the presence of the LORD there. I look forward to going back someday. I want to take a road trip with our 'Pearl' along the coast visiting as many missions as possible, camping along the way. Now that I am becoming Catholic it all means even more to me. On Easter I will be confirmed. Last weekend we went to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament for the Rite Of Election with Bishop Soto. It was a beautiful ceremony.

Party Resources said...

I love the stone, the grounds, the history and the fish pond! One more reason to love southern CA! xx