San Juan Bautista, California. Our adventure took us to three missions today: San Juan Bautista, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara.
Mission San Juan Bautista was founded in 1797 by Father Fermin de Lasuen, the President of the California Missions and successor to Junipero Serra. It is located in the historic district of the town, overlooking the surrounding countryside. The mission compound has been partially restored; the church and the building that houses the museum portray the construction as it may have been during the mission era. Whereas Mission San Antonio was undergoing earthquake retrofit, San Juan Bautista displays warnings that the buildings are not earthquake-safe.
The museum makes the artifacts very accessible, allowing visitors to experience walking among them. Two items that particularly caught our attention were the Himnario (a handwritten, large-print song book for the choir) and the cross from the 1860’s bell tower. The interior of the church was beautiful; wider than most of the mission churches, it has aisles on both sides of the church and one down the center. The statues in the sanctuary and reredos at the front of the church sets it apart from many of the other missions.