Mission San Gabrielle

While I was in Pasadena, CA this October, I took a number of photos at the Mission San Gabrielle that I wanted to share.
The mission-style church is fascinating to me. These churches were built on the blood of the natives by order of the Spanish Padres. This one in particular was built in 1771 by the Franciscan order under Father Serra. He is connected to other missions in California, too. There are 21 missions that are considered of this “trail” that begins in the south and winds its way up the California coast. I’d been to the Carmel Mission before, and now I’m eager to see them all!

The saddest part about the missions is certainly the anguish it must have caused the indigenous people at the time, and the deaths by measles, abuse, and gifts of harder lives, but I’m also saddened by the loss of interest and money that Spain had in these missions, leading them to crumble and fall into mass disrepair. It wasn’t until 1826 that the Mexican government freed the natives from the missions, and in 1833 they passed the “secularization” act which separated Spain from the churches. The Padres were called home. By then, all the natives who hadn’t left the mission-system were abandoned, and the Mexican population along with East-coasters didn’t make room for them.

They are now all run and maintained under the Catholic church, 4 of them remain Franciscan. A good number of them are still in sad states. George W. Bush signed a bill in 2004 giving the missions 10 million dollars to repair and restore them over a 5 year period.

Someday I’d like to hike the trail to see all 21 missions. They are 3 days apart on foot, each, or one day by horseback. Knowing the good weather in California, I’m sure it’d be a gorgeous experience. Anyone interested?

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