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.
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".
PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY FOR A $100 e-spree AT JOSS & MAIN IF YOU HAVEN'T YET.