DAILY CATHOLIC    CORPUS CHRISTI WEEKEND     June 12-14, 1998     vol. 9, no. 114

200 YEAR HISTORY OF MISSION SAN LUIS REY: TIME CAPSULES

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

200 YEAR HISTORY OF MISSION SAN LUIS REY

Historical Events in the Annals of the Mission:

  • 60 A.D.
  • Death of Saint Barnabas, Apostle who traveled to Cyprus and Asia Minor with Saint Paul. He also traveled to Rome and consulted with Saint Peter before returning later to be with his cousin in Cypress and it was there that he was stoned to death by pagans in Salamis. His relics were found in the fifth century and preserved. While many historians believe Barnabas composed the Letter to the Hebrews, there is no definitive proof of this.

  • August 25, 1297
  • Feast day of St. Louis IX, King of France (April 25, 1215-Aug. 25, 1270)

  • July 18, 1769
  • Spanish get first glimpse of San Luis Rey Valley. Friar Juan Crespi, a member of the expedition en route to Monterey from San Diego, describes it as "so green that it seemed to us that it had been planted." The valley was named "San Juan Capistrano" and earmarked as a site for future mission. Almost 30 years went by before the valley was renamed.

  • February 27, 1798
  • Spanish Gov. Diego Borica orders the commander of the San Diego presidio to supply a guard and soldiers to support the building of a mission on this site. Mission San Juan Capistrano was already established n 1776 so the new mission is to be called San Luis Rey de Francia.

  • June 13, 1798
  • Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen celebrates the first mass on the site of Mission San Luis Rey on the feast day of Saint Anthony of Padua. Attendees include Father Antonio Peyri, the first Franciscan guardian, several soldiers and members of the San Luis Rey band of Luiseno Mission Indians.

  • October 4, 1815
  • Mission church is finally completed and dedicated on the Feast of St. Francis.

  • 1816
  • San Antonio de Pala asistencia is established to accommodate Native Americans who live farther away from the mission.

  • March 20, 1829
  • Mexico expels all males under 60 of Spanish birth. Father Peyri applies for passport to return to Spain but is allowed to stay for a transition period.

  • 1830
  • Pepper tree arrives from Peru.

  • January 17, 1832
  • Father Peyri leaves the mission and sails to Mexico aboard the U.S. ship "Pocahontas" from San Diego. He is accompanied by two Luiseno neophytes, Pablo Tac and Agapito Amamix. The latter dies a short while later in Rome.

  • 1835
  • Pablo Tac, who dies in 1841 at age 19, writes about his life at Mission San Luis Rey.

  • August 22, 1935
  • Mission inventory is surrendered to Mexican Gov. Pio Pico.

  • December 1842
  • Friar Francisco Ibarra dies and is buried in the mission church.
  • May 18, 1846
  • Gov. Pico sells the mission for $2,437.

  • June 1846
  • Father Jose Marie Zalvidea, the last of the Spanish padres to live at the mission, dies and is buried in the church.

  • August 1846
  • Capt. John Fremont assigns John Bidwell to secure the mission and surrounding property after the U.S.-Mexico War.

  • December 1846
  • Kit Carson and Capt. Stephen Kearney cap at Mission San Luis Rey.

  • January 2, 1847
  • Capt. Kearny's U.S. troops arrive at the mission.

  • January 27, 1847
  • U.S. Mormon battalion arrives after overland march from Midwest.

  • April 10, 1849
  • U.S. Army squadron from Los Angeles arrives to prepare military living quarters at the mission.

  • May 1852
  • Almost two years after California becomes a state, the U.S. Boundary Commission arrives at Mission San Luis Rey to assess property and determine ownership.

  • March 18, 1865
  • President Abraham Lincoln signs documents restoring ownership of the mission to the Roman Catholic Church.

  • 1892
  • Mission San Luis Rey is opened to exiled friars from Zacatecas, Mexico. Father Joseph Jeremiah O'Keefe is assigned to the mission as guardian to serve as liaison between the Mexican refugees and the St. Barbara Province and becomes the "rebuilder of the mission." Work begins immediately on temporary housing for the Mexican novices undergoing training at the mission.

  • May 12, 1893
  • The mission church is rededicated. More than 300 people, including several elderly Luisenos, attend.

  • 1893-1900
  • Repairs are made to the church.

  • March 19, 1903
  • The Mexican Franciscans return to Mexico and no longer use the novitiate provided for them at Mission San Luis Rey.

  • 1903-1912
  • Permanent living quarters are built. The buildings form a small quadrangle about one-fourth the size of the original six-acre quadrangle.

  • July 24, 1912
    The general chapter of the Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart, based in St. Louis, receives the mission into its care.

  • September 18, 1912
  • Father O'Keefe leaves the mission after 19 years of leading the mission through several rebuilding phases.

  • July 25, 1913
  • The statue of San Luis Rey is blessed and hoisted into its niche over the main entrance to the church.

  • August 1913
  • The Sisters of the Precious Blood arrive to open a parochial school.

  • September 15, 1913
  • The school opens.

  • March 14, 1914
  • Rebuilt mortuary chapel is dedicated.

  • November 15, 1915
  • New quarters are blessed for the school.

  • August 13, 1915
  • Friar O'Keefe dies at Santa Barbara.

  • 1926
  • Bell tower, damaged by earlier earthquake, collapses in heavy rains.

  • 1927
  • New bell tower dedicated.

  • January 12, 1928
  • Friars' vault is blessed in cemetery.

  • 1929
  • Academy of the Little Flower opens.

  • February 13, 1931
  • After a year of work, a new roof, ceiling beams and cupola are added to the church by Friar Ferdinand Ortiz. The new construction continues Friar O'Keef's efforts to restores the church closer to the original built by Friar Peyri.

  • May 25, 1934
  • A new kitchen is completed.

  • 1936-37
  • An Historic American Buildings Survey is taken at the mission.

  • June 2, 1949
  • Ground is broken for construction of the San Luis Rey Franciscan College to be built on the foundation of the original west and north wings of the mission quadrangle.

  • June 15, 1950
  • The new college dormitories and classrooms are dedicated.

  • Summer 1957
  • Television's "Zorro" series is filmed at Mission San Luis Rey.

  • 1950's-'60s
  • Soldiers' barracks and lavanderia (laundry) are excavated.
  • 1969
  • The college closes.

  • 1970
  • Because of its architectural features, Mission San Luis Rey Church is designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The retreat center opens.

  • 1992
  • Ed Gabarra, first secular executive director hired. Nine-member board of directors established.

  • October 1996
  • San Luis Rey Parish opens Serra Center.

  • June 13, 1998
  • 200th Anniversary of San Luis Rey Mission, celebrated by the Bishop and the first performance ever by the Vatican Choir outside of Europe!


June 12-14, 1998       volume 9, no. 114
TIME CAPSULES

DAILY CATHOLIC

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