Saturday, December 14, 2019

Feast of Saint Lucia

  Today I had the opportunity to attend my very first Saint Lucia breakfast.  I know only a little of Saint Lucia, and while I had heard that it can be celebrated by both Lutheran and Anglican, I have never know anyone who actually did participate in this Swedish Christmas tradition.  Saint Lucia was an early Christian martyr  whom legend says would secretly bring food to the early Christians hiding in the catacombs  of Rome.  She would wear a crown of candles on her head to light her way and keep her hands free to carry what she had to share.  Lucia means light and her feast day is celebrated in Sweden on December 13, one of the shortest days of the year.

We were greeted at the door by the daughter of the house dressed as Saint Lucia.  The white robe is supposed to represent baptism and the red sash is for the blood of the martyrs. 

Our hostess shared lots of delicious food for everyone to enjoy.

 Later in the morning our Saint Lucia wore actual lighted candles on her head as she moved around the room.  Brave girl!

As our morning came to an end we were each given a hand-made Christmas ornament which I promptly took home and hung on my tree!

 The light of Lucia in the middle of Advent is supposed to be a reflection of the great light of Christ which enters the world on Christmas Day. Such a lovely reminder.

"Hear us Oh God our salvation as we rejoice on the feast of Saint Lucy, thy virgin and martyr, and grant us to learn the spirit of pious devotion." Amen.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Mission San Juan Capistrano

While we were hanging out in the North San Diego County area  for a few days we decided to take a drive up the coast to see the Mission San Juan Capistrano.  Built in 1776, it was the 7th of 21 missions built up and down California and one of the nine missions originally founded by Father Junipero Serra.  We spent a wonderful afternoon exploring the grounds of this cultural and historic Spanish landmark.

Entering into the courtyard.

The wall on the right is the oldest part of the mission grounds.  Some of the old walls have been shored up with posts.

The Inspector and I did a little posing in front of the many beautiful fountains throughout the grounds.

It was interesting to note that while the exterior walkways were high and arched, the interior doorways were so low we had duck our heads to get from room to room.


The walls you see rising in the background are part of the original stone church.

 Work began on the "Great Stone Church" in 1797 and was completed in 1806.  It was built in the shape of a cross with 50 foot high walls and a 70 foot bell tower.  Legends say the tower could be seen for 10 miles.  Tragically, on December 8, 1812, just 6 years after the church was completed a massive earthquake struck Southern California and brought the church crashing down.  Forty worshipers were crushed in the rubble and the church was never rebuilt.  The ruins of the old church still remain.

 A bell wall was built between the ruins of the stone church and the original mission chapel to hold the bells which were salvaged from the ruins.  The two large bells you now see are reproductions.  The two smaller ones are original.

These are the two large original bells.

Inside Father Serra's original chapel.  The gold "tableau" was added in the early 20th century when the church was renovated.

While the Eucharist is still performed in this chapel, a new and much larger basilica has been built on the grounds.  You can see the dome of that church rising behind the old walls.  We were unable to visit the inside of that church as there was a wedding taking place at the time but we did get to hear the bells ring. Beautiful!  You can see the inside of the basilica, learn the history of the bells and hear them ring here

Of course, no trip to San Juan Capistrano would be complete without mentioning the swallows.  Every year a large festival takes place on St Joseph's Day in March to celebrate the return of the swallows to the mission.   After wintering in Argentina the birds will make the 6,000 mile journey back to San Juan Capistrano where they will make their homes in the eaves of the old walls.  The swallows had already left for the winter but we could still see the mud nests.

 We always enjoy a visit to one of the Californian missions.  I hope you enjoyed our little tour.  May the Lord richly bless you wherever you are this day.  Adieu!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Shelter Island

We have just returned from a week in San Diego.  We spent four days in the city and three days north of the city in the area where we lived before moving to the Northwest so many years ago.  We relaxed in the sunshine, enjoyed some good food, did a little sightseeing, shared a bit of quality time with family, and of course, took lots of pictures.

Our first two days were spent in an area of San Diego called Shelter Island near Point Loma.  It's not really an island, but rather a long narrow man made point that is attached to the mainland of San Diego and was built in the 1930's. It's home to wonderful restaurants, marinas and hotels, as well as a large waterfront park. Our hotel was situated on a lovely private marina right across the street from the bay.


 Even though it was a bit hazy we were able to look out over the boat launch and see the city skyline across the bay from our hotel balcony. 

After we were settled into our hotel, we spent our second day with my cousin and her husband doing some sightseeing.  We visited the old historic Point Loma Lighthouse, built on a cliff overlooking the entrance to San Diego Bay in 1855.  I have fond memories of coming up here as child with my family.  It was one of a number of places my parents would always bring guests who had come to visit. 

Views from the cliffs above.

 It's always interesting to see how the ocean breezes affect the direction that trees grow.

We finished our day by returning to Shelter Island for a lovely meal together at a local restaurant overlooking the bay.  Delightful!

As this was our final day on Shelter Island we took a short walk along the bay side public park in front of our hotel. 

 There is a navel base close by so we were able to watch some of the navel ships coming into port including the super aircraft carrier USS Nimitz which is among one of the largest navy ships in the world.

And as the day came to an end we were able to watch the dusk begin to fall and watch the lights of the city skyline begin to glow in the upcoming darkness. 

It was time to head back to our room and prepare to head out the next morning for North County.  We loved our time on Shelter Island and look forward to returning here again one day. Adieu!