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The Old Franciscan Missions Of California   By: (1858-1923)

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[Illustration: MISSION SAN LUIS REY. Showing monastery recently built behind the old Mission arches.]

The Old Franciscan Missions of California



Author of "In and Around the Grand Canyon," "Heroes of California," "Through Ramona's Country," Etc.

With Illustrations from Photographs



To those good men and women, of all creeds and of no creed, whose lives have shown forth the glories of beautiful, helpful, unselfish, sympathetic humanity:

To those whose love and life are larger than all creeds and who discern the manifestation of God in all men:

To those who are urging forward the day when profession will give place to endeavor, and, in the real life of a genuine brotherhood of man, and true recognition of the All Fatherhood of God, all men, in spite of their diversities, shall unite in their worship and thus form the real Catholic Church:

Especially to these, and to all who appreciate nobleness in others I lovingly dedicate these pages, devoted to a recital of the life and work of godly and unselfish men.


The story of the Old Missions of California is perennially new. The interest in the ancient and dilapidated buildings and their history increases with each year. To day a thousand visit them where ten saw them twenty years ago, and twenty years hence, hundreds of thousands will stand in their sacred precincts, and unconsciously absorb beautiful and unselfish lessons of life as they hear some part of their history recited. It is well that this is so. A materially inclined nation needs to save every unselfish element in its history to prevent its going to utter destruction. It is essential to our spiritual development that we learn that

"Not on the vulgar mass Called 'work,' must sentence pass, Things done, that took the eye and had the price; O'er which, from level stand, The low world laid its hand, Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice."

It is of incalculably greater benefit to the race that the Mission Fathers lived and had their fling of divine audacity for the good of the helpless aborigines than that any score one might name of the "successful captains of industry" lived to make their unwieldy and topheavy piles of gold. With all their faults and failures, all their ideas of theology and education, which we, in our assumed superiority, call crude and old fashioned, all their rude notions of sociology, all their errors and mistakes, the work of the Franciscan Fathers was glorified by unselfish aim, high motive and constant and persistent endeavor to bring their heathen wards into a knowledge of saving grace. It was a brave and heroic endeavor. It is easy enough to find fault, to criticize, to carp, but it is not so easy to do . These men did ! They had a glorious purpose which they faithfully pursued. They aimed high and achieved nobly. The following pages recite both their aims and their achievements, and neither can be understood without a thrilling of the pulses, a quickening of the heart's beats, and a stimulating of the soul's ambitions.

This volume pretends to nothing new in the way of historical research or scholarship. It is merely an honest and simple attempt to meet a real and popular demand for an unpretentious work that shall give the ordinary tourist and reader enough of the history of the Missions to make a visit to them of added interest, and to link their history with that of the other Missions founded elsewhere in the country during the same or prior epochs of Mission activity.

If it leads others to a greater reverence for these outward and visible signs of the many and beautiful graces that their lives developed in the hearts of the Franciscan Fathers their founders and builders and gives the information needed, its purpose will be more than fulfilled.

In most of its pages it is a mere condensation of the author's In and Out of the Old Missions of California, to which book the reader who desires further and more detailed information is respectfully referred... Continue reading book >>

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