Photographer's Note

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

I wish the skies were clearer. We were there for a while, and they cleared up somewhat later in the day, but I decided to post this photo I took earlier on, as it conveys the real tranquility of this Mission. It's not nearly as busy and crowded as many of the others I've visited, but it was also a winter day, so not many tourists were around. It's very austere: I'm not sure what this mission looked like originally, but it is quite monochromatic compared to many of the others which survive. It's now been whitewashed, which gives it a quite stark and rather utilitarian appearance, just accented by some decorations and color.

Curiously, this mission was named for St. Louis IX, a 13th-century French King, who died fighting in the Crusades and was canonized in 1297. He was instructed by early Franciscans, and is thus the patron saint of their third order. His mother was also of Spanish ancestry. The mission was founded in 1798 by Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, the successor to Junipero Serra. It originally comprised some 950,000 acres along the coast, but it retains only 56 acres today. It's one of the later-built ones, as it wasn't founded until a threat of Russian encroachment.

As in the case of many other missions, it has a checkered history in terms of relation with native peoples. The so-called "Luiseno" people inhabited the region for centuries prior to the arrival of the Spanish. They were actually a branch of the southern Shoshone, or Payomkawichum (people of the west). After Mexican independence in 1821, each mission was granted ten years to convert the natives, and their labor largely kept the mission running. The structure was later used as a base for US soldiers, in the nineteenth century. It underwent extensive renovations in the 20th century, particularly when a group of Franciscans took up residence here under Friar Joseph O'Keefe, who largely spearheaded restoration efforts.

Historic features include the church, lavanderia, or laundry, a convent, dormitories, workshops, barracks, a fairly large and still-used cemetery, and a historic pepper tree. The large quadrangle courtyard is home to the first pepper trees in Alta California, planted from seeds imported from Peru by Fr. Antonio Peyri.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 78 N: 655] (1457)
  • Genre: Lieux
  • Medium: Couleur
  • Date Taken: 2017-01-00
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Versions: version originale
  • Date Submitted: 2017-07-12 16:23
Viewed: 377
Points: 4
  • None
Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 78 N: 655] (1457)
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