Friday, February 21, 2014

Mission Learning

 If you have ever had a child in California in the 4th grade, you will know about the California Missions. 
 It is required learning in these parts and they are pretty cool. 
Shaggy and Lollipop Pop both had teachers who required building a mission model. 
NOT my favorite task in life. 
 I am hoping next year Sugar Plum Fairy's teacher will require something else.
Anyway, in a nutshell, there are 21 California Missions linking San Diego to San Francisco. 
 These were built under the direction of a Franciscan Monk beginning in 1769 and for the next 54 years.
Their main purpose was to convert Native Americans to Christianity. 
 Each mission was self sufficient and protected. 
The missions were spaced about one day's ride (horseback or wagon) apart. 
 They offered a place for visitors to rest overnight as well. 
We have visited many of the Missions before, but Sugar Plum Fairy was very young, so while golf was being played last weekend, she and I went Mission exploring. 
The first we visited is located just north of Paso Robles.
San Miguel Arcangel was restored after a 2003 earthquake and was the 16th mission...founded in 1797.
The fish that now reside in the fountain had Sugar Plum Fairy mesmerized.

Walking through each room and seeing the artifacts that are on display truly takes you back in time.
She wondered if her Grandma would like this loom?

The interior of the church is one of the best preserved in all the Missions.
 It's wall and ceiling decorations were created by Native American artists and have never been repainted. 
As we were wandering in here, a docent, who was waiting for his tour group of children to finish lunch, shared a story with us. 
There was a volunteer cleaning the sanctuary when the earthquake hit in 2003. 
Frightened, she turned to the statue of Mary and began praying to her for safety...Mary's head fell off. 
She turned around to that statue of Joseph and began praying to him...his head fell off. 
She turned to the back of the sanctuary and to the statue of Michael said, "I'm not using any more names". 
The width of the church was determined by the length of the ceiling beams...they are each one piece, thus providing stability for all these years.
(And the headless statues were not originals)

Even after we visited three other missions, San Miguel remains Sugary Plum Fairy's favorite. 
She says she can feel the history here.
Love that.

I also like the fact that the old tree in the middle of the parking lot is protected.

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