Friday, February 13, 2015

Mission San Luis Rey

Last year was one where we did a lot of traveling including 10 days in Southern California reliving memories in the place where we both grew up.  One of the places we stopped to visit was the Mission San Luis Rey.  Founded in 1798, it was one of 21 missions built by the Spaniards all up and down the coast of California. When I was a child, it was a favorite place to bring friends from out of town or to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon wandering the courtyard and grounds. It had probably been at least 20 years since I had been there but everything looked timelessly the same,

The Mission is still a functioning church with a large active congregation as you can see by all the cars parked in the background for the morning service.
You can tell by that azure and deep blue sky that it was a beautiful spring morning.

Built out of adobe these thick walls keep everything cool, even in the warmest weather.


 Looking out from the mission the brothers could watch for soldiers and travelers riding in from those hills seeking shelter as they moved up the coast from mission to mission.

I have always loved this fountain.  As a child I remember spending many an hour looking for goldfish in its waters.  It was one of my favorite spots.  In fact, it was one of the last places I brought my father to before he passed away.  This day I was standing there with my niece and great-nephew.

 This special courtyard, which you are only allowed to observe through the gate is the home of the oldest pepper tree in California.  You can see it through this old archway.  I have been coming to see this old tree my whole life. 

After wandering the grounds we headed inside the sanctuary.  

My brother became Catholic and was married in this church.  I walked down its aisle as a bridesmaid in his wedding, oh, so many years ago.

 The church has been restored and carefully maintained.  Those lovely wooden beams are all original. There is something about these old churches that have an air of sacredness that seems missing from the modern buildings of today with their projectors and multipurpose rooms. 

 We completed our day by driving down the hill to the small Episcopal cemetery in the valley below the mission.  This is where my dad is buried.  My grandparents are also buried here along with one aunt and uncle and numerous friends of my parents from when I was a child.  Unfortunately, I forgot my key and so I could only look through the gate.

And so our day was complete.  It was one filled with gentle memories of happy, peaceful days that, while long passed, still bring feelings of gratitude for the years that were given and are remembered.  A good day.

1 comment:

  1. The Mission church, the grounds and the Episcopal cemetery seem very peaceful. I think fountains where one has spent time with loved ones often bring back good and sometimes poignant memories. I know of such a one in my home town public gardens. The history of the old pepper tree captures the imagination too.