What if we walked the distances between all the missions like Father Serra did? Ha ha ha. No. Well, while I’m not exactly doing a full-on California Mission tour (just yet), but I’ll just take a few moments and pictures to highlight what historical goodness I get to surround myself around on a daily basis.
Mission Santa Clara de Asis was the 8th mission built in California and was actually built and destroyed several different times. It was originally founded in 1777 where they erected a cross and shelter for worship to bring Christianity to the Ohlone and Costanoan peoples. The latest mission structure was built in 1925 after a fire destroyed the 1828 mission. But enough of the nitty gritty details.
Upper left and clockwise: original adobe walls from mission #4 preserved in the back of the mission in the St. Francis Chapel; the one and only Father Serra; animal prints saved in the stone tiles.
The mission roses are probably some of the most beautiful plants I have ever seen. Each fall and each spring, they blossom and light up the campus with color. When I lived off campus, I would bike past every morning to go to class or the gym and could watch as they grew throughout the year. Better watch out though, picking a flower might cost you up to $500 fine. I’m not sure if that’s a rumor or not, but I know the fine is pretty steep.
Upper left: cement steps with “S.C.C.” which stands for Santa Clara College and was used for passengers to dismount from stagecoaches or carriages. The white crosses memorialize the 1989 martyrdom of the six University of Central America Jesuit priest and their co-workers during the Salvadoran Civil War. The picture on the upper right is the original Mission cross, first set up in 1777 and moved from site to site. It has actually been encased in redwood for protection and during the holidays, the school erects a giant Christmas tree behind it.
Another fun fact: The bells in the bell tower include three that date from the mission period and one was donated to the university in 1929 by King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Supposedly the bells are still rung regularly, but it seems to me, they utilize a speaker system. In fact, because they still hold mass on a daily basis, you can hear the bells ring at 12pm and 5pm every day.
My grandma, who is a history junkie herself, has actually made it around at least once to all the missions. I’ll hold off on this journey until I accomplish a few other things, say find an apple picking farm?, but maybe some day.