Old Mission San Luis Rey De Francia

11/28/12 Wednesday at Menifee,CA (RV at Wilderness Lakes Campground, John & Trish at Oceanside, CA condo)

Slept in, then after breakfast we practiced pickleball on the tennis court here. I needed it. Got information and some discounts on the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, then I worked on yesterday’s blog while John read. Suddenly, it was lunch time. At 1pm we treated ourselves to an ice cream scoop, with toppings, $1 each. This is the first money we’ve spent since arriving at Oceanside. The next was our $5 each to visit the San Luis Rey Mission.

Off to the Mission San Luis Rey De Francia, founded 1798 by Franciscan Friars (from Mexico, for Spain)






Statue of King Louis IX of France, a 13th century saint and patron of the Franciscans.






Entrance to cemetery






Tombstone from 1863






Courtyard view






Looking to the left you can see mortars and how thick their walls are.

Before the Europeans came, part of the Western Shoshone tribe occupied this valley for thousands of years. When the Spanish began colonizing “Alta California” (missions were the way they colonized), they gave the Indians in the mission area Spanish names, so they’d recognize them with that particular mission. The Indians here were called the Luisenos.

Father Serra founded the first 9 of 21missions in California, before he died. San Luis Rey was the 18th mission and founded by his successor, Fr. Fermin Lasuen. Then it was turned over to Fr. Peyri, who built and directed it from 1798 to 1832.

Father Serra’s vestment chest. It looks similar to those John & I have seen when we were helping out in our younger years. Just amazing.






In his 34 years there Father Peyri did a superb job, giving the Indians the opportunity to remain within their villages while working and becoming part of this vast mission organization. They learned trades like creating yarn from sheep’s wool and raising cattle. At its height there were over 3,000 members raising 50,000 head of cattle and had lands for miles, even farther than Temecula to the North.











In 1830, Fr. Antionio Peyri planted the first pepper tree in California, seeds from Peru were brought by a sailor. Here is that tree, still alive, in the center of the courtyard.






This is not like “hot” peppers, but more like our ground pepper. It’s berries don’t actually produce commercial pepper, but is used medicinally for its anti-bactierial and antiseptic properties.






The cacti at the mission are HUGE












Unfortunately, Fr Peyri was frustrated trying to help his people while the Mexican governments (various regimes) kept trying to take possession of the mission. He tried to leave quietly, but the Indians discovered him and begged him to return. He went to Mexico to try to attain permanent possession of the mission, but to no avail, then he returned to Spain. For 12 years the Bishop asked to have this property returned to the church. In 1865, a month before he was assassinated, President Lincoln signed the document confirming that it belonged to the Catholic Church.

By this time the Mission had fallen into terrible disarray and many of the Indians had moved on. Great efforts were made to restore it (1892-1912).

In 1926 part of the bell tower collapsed (due to water absorbed by new materials)

Even now, the Church part is being remodeled to help it withstand an earthquake. Thus, we couldn’t go into it.




At the end of our visit we meandered on to the San Luis Rey Parish building where they kept koi, so I have to share this picture of the koi.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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