Ventura, California. It seems that every mission has its own personality and at each we discover something unique. Here in Ventura, the original mission bells were made of wood. (I guess it softens the call to dinner: instead of clanging “Hey, it’s time to eat!” the call is, “Wooden you like to come home for dinner?”). Most of the mission was either destroyed by a series of earthquakes, an accompanying tsunami, or torn down during the secularization period, so only the church and settling tank of the aqueduct remain of the original mission. Between 1805-1815, Chumash Indians constructed an aqueduct from the Ventura River to the Mission, about 7 miles long. Although the aqueduct has been destroyed, the settling tank still stands on the mission grounds. Although it is a short tour, the gardens and church sanctuary are beautiful.
A couple observations. First, accompanying the wooden bells on display is a note that states, “Former pastor Msgr. Patrick J. O’Brien said ‘it is difficult to understand how quiet the world was before our century….'” Standing there I could hear the obvious noises of the city: cars driving by, air conditioner running, horns, sirens, etc. Without the sounds created by a modern world, I wonder what we would hear?
Second, it is interesting how many people we are encountering that ask us about our trip and when we tell them we are visiting all the California Missions, they express how they have always desired to do the same. At Mission San Gabriel, one of the gift shop workers said that she hadn’t yet been to any of the northern California missions. At Ventura, the worker in the gift shop hadn’t been to any other mission. However, others we have spoken to have made it to most, if not all, of the missions in California. Even though the conversations are brief and casual, it is fun to share a dream with others.