Living Old Mission Santa Barbara


Saint francis of asisi

A couple of weekends ago I went down to Santa Barbara. I had an inspiring tour through an inspiring place with two very inspiring women. My mom, Adam’s mom, and I toured the museum and gardens of the Santa Barbara Mission. It was built in 1786 but is still a site of education, reflection, and worship. It’s a Franciscan mission. Although I am not religious, and certainly not Catholic, I have always like Saint Francis of Asissi for being the patron saint of animals and the environment.

seamstress erin and mom at santa barbara missionThe gardens were beautiful and I can imagine a quiet life spent in study and contemplation in just such a place. Although the buildings were originally adobe, the present church was rebuilt in a stronger manner with sandstone in 1820 after having been destroyed by an earthquake in 1812.

cactus blooming fuschiaI adore blooming cacti and love love love these colors. They are my favorite part of southern California.

catholic skull and crossbonesAbove the entrance to the rear church doors are skull and crossbones carvings. I was surprised to see them because I think of skulls as being punk-rock, or at least piratical. However, here they were used to indicate a cemetery location. Did anyone else read Island of the Blue Dolphins as a kid? It was based on the true story of a Nicoleno Indian woman that was abandoned and survived alone on San Nicolas Island, near Santa Barbara, for 18 years. There is a memorial to her in the cemetery garden at the Santa Barbara Mission.

judi weisbart at santa barbara mission

I was so happy to be in the company of two women I love and admire and to know that they love, admire, and support me in return. Having role models is so important and it’s a blessing that I have these two role models in my family.

antique musical score at santa barbara missionThe original living quarters for the missionaries are now a museum and contain artifacts from the early mission period. I thought that the antique music manuscript was lovely. I really miss music being a part of my life and have gotten Adam to promise me that we can buy a piano as soon as we leave San Francisco. I haven’t yet convinced him to join a choir with me, but hopefully I’ll get there.

embroidered vestementsI thought the pieces de resistance were the antique vestments. This particular piece shows a Chinese influence from the Chinese workers that were brought into the area to build the railroads. I got a kick out of the display they had of a monk that designed and embroidered vestments in the 1970’s. He was just what you would imagine – wearing birkenstocks with frizzy hair and a giant grin in his picture.

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