Mission San Jose

Fremont, California. Mission San Jose was founded by Padre Fermin Francisco de Lasuen and is named for Saint Joseph, not for the city several miles south as is commonly thought. The original adobe Mission church, built in 1809, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1868. It was then replaced by a wooden church building which remained in place until 1982 when it was moved to make room for reconstructing the original church. The reconstruction of the 1809 adobe church was completed in 1985 which, for some of us, is pretty recent.

We found the mission museum very informative. The displays provided good descriptions and there was a flow to the tour moving from portrayals of the Ohlone Native Americans, to the mission padres, to the families who lived here during the Rancho period. Of special interest was a man by the name of Robert Livermore who is buried beneath the floor of the church. He was originally from England, had come to California in 1821, became a rancher in the local area, and was married in the Mission church.

In a display titled, “The Indians as Christians,” it was observed that “it is likely that most adult Indians never gave up their traditional beliefs.” Quoting Professor Sherburne F. Cooke, it says, “The neophyte lived in two worlds, as it were: the everyday, commonplace atmosphere of mission Christianity in the broad daylight of which he carried on his routine activities, and a silent, secret world within himself to which he might and did escape on frequent occasions.” Once again we see the results of what seemed to be a forced evangelism. On the part of the recipient, living in two worlds was not so much an act of hypocrisy as it was a form of adaptation. However, it gives me an opportunity to consider, and compare, what I say I believe in broad daylight to what I really believe in the world within myself.

1 thought on “Mission San Jose”

  1. …”the everyday, commonplace atmosphere of mission Christianity in the broad daylight of which he carried on his routine activities, and a silent, secret world within himself to which he might and did escape on frequent occasions.”
    Isn’t this the crux of all life? Isn’t this the point Jesus drove home when He came to earth? The divide between what we say we believe (and/or want to believe) and the way we actually think and believe in our hearts can be wide. It’s a mystical thing this faith and belief. Our actions are reflections of our hearts, but the motives for our actions can remain hidden. Are we self-serving or God-fearing?

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