Friday, November 30, 2012

MISSION SAN BUENAVENTURA (Ventura, Ventura County, CA)

Our 7th Mission on the list of 21 was San Buenaventura in Ventura, and we headed out there on Tuesday (11/20/12), with the mistaken notion that, traffic-wise, weekdays would be better than weekends. Maybe true, so long as you miss the morning and afternoon rush hour crush on the 101, 134, and 210 freeways, which we so totally didn't on the way back home. It's about 158 miles from Murrieta to downtown Ventura: we left at 9am and arrived at 11:45am. Not too bad. On the way home though, we left at 2:40pm from Ventura Harbor and didn't get home until 7:45pm. That was excrutiatingly sucky. There were accidents on all the freeways, including a 5-car pileup at the top of the Conejo Grade on the 101N, which left only one lane open, and it just didn't get much better after that. Anyhoo, the trip was still well worth it. Our next Mission excursion will be to Santa Ines in Solvang on a SATURDAY. Just sayin'...

11/20/12 Double front doors at the church's entrance on E. Main Street. The wooden doors are carved with vertical-cuts representing waves of water ('River of Life') which was a common design element featured in many of the California missions. 

The Campanario. There are five bells (originally borrowed from Mission Santa Barbara) inside this 3-tiered bell tower: the newest bell, cast in Paris, France in 1956, hangs at the top level. Two of the older bells are marked 1781 and another is marked 1825. 

The walls of the adobe and stone church are 6 1/2 feet thick.

Main Street entrance to the Mission Gift Shop and Museum.

Painting in the Mission Museum. 

Tabernacle in the Mission Museum. 

[from the card in the display] "Mexican, first quarter of the 19th century. Wood with carved, painted and gilded decoration. It is believed that this tabernacle (which matches the missal stand in another case) is the one ordered by Father Jose Senan from the Procurator at the Apostolic College of San Fernando in Mexico City for the main altar of the first permanent church of 1809 of Mission San Buenaventura."

Gil, checking out the Museum collection.

From the brochure: "Chumash baskets, handcrafted by San Buenaventura Indians, who were noted for their expertise in creating artistic, well-designed, and exceptionally practical baskets."

Confessional in the Mission Museum. According to the brochure, "The primitive confessional is one of the finest examples of native art in Alta California, its workmanship being surprisingly even in motif. The devices used as decoration have been copied by many artists."

One of two wooden bells housed in the Museum that were used at the mission in the early days.

From the Mission brochure: "The Bibliotheca comprises 146 books, most of which were issued from such European cities as Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, London, Lyons and Venice. About half are printed in Spanish, with Latin, French, Italian and English following in descending order. The oldest book in the collection was published in Madrid in 1639."

Outside the Museum shop at the east side of the garden.

Mission garden on the east side of the church.

Shady spot just outside the Museum shop in the east side of the garden. Agaves, day lilies, and an assortment of shade-loving plants. The two 80-year-old, iconic, towering Star Pines (aka, Norfolk Island Pines) are just to the right beyond the wall.

Agaves outside the Museum shop in the east side of the garden.

Trunks of the two 80-year-old Star Pines, aka Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla) visible just behind the wall. These conifers are endemic to Norfolk Island between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia.

Per Mary Null Boule's pamphlet on the mission, "Legend has it that the trees were planted there by a sea captain during the mission times. He hoped to use them as masts for his ship one day. Each year at Christmas time the trees are lighted to celebrate the holy season."

Star Pines/Norfolk Island Pines.

A beautiful border, with rudbeckias, coleus, day lilies, begonias, and assorted colorful annuals.

Lovely shade garden approaching the center side doors to the church, with a white-flowered azalea/rhododendron in front of the bench.

East wall of the Church. Taking the color out of this shot gives it a whole different feel.

East wall of the Church, in color. 

From the booklet "Mission San Buenaventura" by Mary Null Boule: "On the east wall of the church, leading from the garden to the church interior, is a very unusual doorway built in Moorish style. The archway of the door has been formed to represent two rivers, Ventura and Santa Clara, that flow near the mission. The center point of the doorway is where the two rivers symbolically meet. Above the doorway is a design representing the mountains behind the mission."

Mission garden. Coleus, day lilies, begonias, and what looks like blue throatworts (?) 

Lots of potted plantings and Birds of Paradise on the grounds.

Fray Junipero Serra.

And here's a native monkey flower! Diplacus aurantiacus?

Day lilies and coleus are the standouts in this border.

Some type of Wood Sorrel/Shamrock (Oxalis) under the shade of a tree.

Wood Sorrel/Shamrock (Oxalis).

Some of the plants we came across at the Mission garden & grounds (a number of them in containers):

Ornamental Kale
Ficus trees (?)
Birds of Paradise
Star Pines (Norfolk Island Pines)
Queen (?) Palms
Ageratum (Sweet William)
Day lilies
Santa Barbara Daisy
Box hedges
Canna lilies
Bougainvillea (with variegated leaves)
Shamrock/wood sorrel/clover
Monkeyflowers (Diplacus aurantiacus?)
Blue Throatworts (Trachelium caeruleum) (?)

From the Mission fact sheet: "The first church was destroyed by fire in 1793. The second church was dedicated in 1809 and reconstructed in  1816 after an earthquake. The walls are 6' thick near the base. The church had to be restored after it was "modernized" in 1893. Restoration was completed in 1957." 

I must say that this was one of the darkest mission church interiors that we've been in so far. Just glad that I was able to adjust the camera settings enough to make up for lack of decent lighting. I'm sure that they do turn the lights on during mass/services.

One of two confessionals in the church.

From California's Missions and Presidios by Tracy Salcedo-Chourre: "Red carpets protect the original floor tiles, upon which are set light-colored pews. The high walls are painted in hues of pink and red, with a fresco of flowers in pink and green separating the shades and painted columns stretching upward between high windows and 250-year-old renderings of the Stations of the Cross. The beams of the high ceiling are painted a mottled green, and from them hang wooden chandeliers fashioned by Sir Henry Downie, famed restorer of the Carmel Mission."

From the booklet on Mission San Buenaventura by Mary Null Boule: "The main altar and reredos came from Mexico when the church was dedicated in 1809. Typical of the style of those times, the reredos is of wood and has four wood columns painted to look like marble. In the large center niche of the reredos is a statue of Saint Bonaventure, the patron saint of the mission."

One of two side altars in the church. This one is the Shrine of the Crucifixion and contains a 400-year old statue of Christ on the cross from the Philippines. Our Lady of Sorrows is on the left, and St. John the Apostle and St. Thomas Aquinas are on the right.

Figures in the main altar, from left to right: Mary the Immaculate Conception, San Buenaventura, and San Jose (St. Joseph), holding his son, the Christ child.

There are 14 paintings of the Stations of the Cross (dating from 1809) on the walls of the church.

Mission garden in front of the rectory.

Bougainvillea (with variegated leaves) at the entrance to the parish rectory.

This Mexican tile fountain was constructed in 1976. The original fountain, built by the Mission Indians, looked very different.

Shrine to Our Lady of the Apocalypse in the Mission garden.
From the Mission brochure: "The Shrine of Our Lady of the Apocalypse was erected during Monsignor Daniel Hurley's pastorate (1939-1954)."

View of the fountain and the East wall of the church.

View of the parish rectory from the garden.

Graves of three of the mission priests behind the church.

Settling tank behind the church, dating back to 1829.

A 7-mile aqueduct brought in water from the Ventura River. Pretty amazing.

Rectory and Holy Cross School in the background.



Parish rectory.

Mission garden.

Mission garden.

Parish rectory, with the Holy Cross School visible in the background.

Lavenders in a border near the rectory.

Mission garden. Not sure what kind of tree this is - looks almost like a Ficus.

Mission garden.

The old olive mill.
From the Mission brochure: "The old olive mill, which produced oil for diverse uses at the Mission, was taken to a private vineyard shortly before the turn of the century. It was subsequently acquired and utilized by the Canet family, who returned the remaining stone and crossbar to the Mission garden at the request of Father Patrick Grogan."

Statue of St. Jude (presented to the Mission in 1982) in a niche at the north side of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Apocalypse

El Camino Real bell in front of the Parish Center.

Location: 211 East Main St., Ventura, CA 93001.

Gift Shop & Museum: 225 East Main St., Ventura, CA 93001.

If heading north on Hwy. 101, exit California Street and turn right. Go past Thompson Blvd., then Santa Clara St. The next street will be E. Main St., turn left. The mission is 2 blocks up on the right hand side, just past Figueroa Street Mall. There are parking spaces all along Main Street (metered - will take credit cards). 

Contact: Tel (805)643-4469 

Hours: Open daily for self-guided tours (you must go the the Mission Gift Shop to pay for admission and start the tour): M-F 10am - 5pm; Sat 9am - 5pm; Sun 10am - 4pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Easter. 

Admission Fees: $4 for adults, $3 for seniors (65+), $1 for children under 18, $10 for families with children. 

The following stats are quoted from the California Missions Resource Center:

San Buenaventura is the 9th of 21 California Missions, founded on March 31, 1782.

Special Designation: Mission by the Sea.

Named For: St. Bonaventure, a 13th century Franciscan cardinal and renowned philosopher. 

Founding Father: Junipero Serra

Indians Joining the Mission: San Buenaventura was located in the land of the Chumash people. After the establishment of the mission the neophytes were known as Ventureno.

Mission Site: The mission was located near the sizeable Indian village of Mitsquanaqa'n with about 500 inhabitants. San Buenaventura is 70 miles north of Los Angeles in the city of Ventura, which developed around the mission.

Layout: Traditional quadrangle, which was still standing as late as 1875.

Water Source: A seven-mile-long earth and masonry zanja or aqueduct brought water from the Ventura River.

Population: The peak years for this mission were 1802-1821. The highest recorded population was 1,328 in 1816. During the mission era there were 1,107 marriages performed at San Buenaventura.

Livestock: In 1816 (the peak year) the mission had over 41,000 animals including 23,400 cattle, 12,144 sheep and 4,493 horses (one of the largest stables of horses in the mission chain). 

Agricultural Output: Over the years 1784 - 1834 the mission reported harvesting 191,291 bushels of wheat, barley, corns beans, peas, lentils, garbanzos (chickpeas) and habas (broad beans). 

Mission Church: The first church was destroyed by fire in 1793. The second church was dedicated in 1809, and reconstructed in 1816 after an earthquake. The walls are six foot thick near the base. The church had to be restored after it was "modernized" in 1893. Restoration was completed in 1957. 

Mission Bells: A three-tiered campanario contains five bells originally borrowed from Mission Santa Barbara. The two oldest bells date from 1781. The bell on the upper level is the newest. It was cast in 1956 in Paris. 

Mission Art: The high altar and its reredos originated in Mexico and were installed when the church was dedicated in 1809. The Shrine of the Crucifixion on the left side of the church contains a four hundred-year old bulto.

Special Attraction: There is a well-landscaped garden with a fountain, stone grotto, and exterior displays on the east side of the church. The inviting mission museum (built in 1929) contains the original church doors and two original wooden bells, which were used during Holy Week when the metal bells were silent. 

Significant Event: Although the mission was evacuated for a month in 1818 because of the threat of a pirate attack by the Argentine privateer Hypolite Bouchard, the mission was nonetheless spared. 

Secularized: 1836

Year Returned to Catholic Church: 1862 in a proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln.

Current Status: Active Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. 

Interesting Facts: San Buenaventura was intended to be the 3rd mission, but its founding was postponed for 13 years, and so it became the 9th mission established. In the mission era whaling ships anchored near the mission to replenish their food lockers and trade for cured cattle hides (called Yankee Dollars). Captain George Vancouver met Fr. Dumetz at the mission in 1793 and named Point Dume, between Point Mugu and Malibu, after the friar. 

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