California Missions: San Antonio de Padua

By: Mark Lopes

The history of the twenty-one missions in California must be a common knowledge if you are a US citizen. They talk of a past when Spaniards were trying hard to expand their region; to get a safer route for trade with Asia. San Antonio de Padua was the third among the California Missions established in the region.
San Antonio de Padua is located in San Antonio Valley, in southwestern Monterey. This mission is known to be the most interesting when it comes to its location. It is situated in the midst of an active military base. The route is going to be a difficult one; with winding roads through the County. Carrying a map is highly recommended.
Mission San Antonio de Padua was established in the year 1714 by Father Junípero Serra. Its original location is 1.5 miles away from the present site. The mission had to be evacuated due to drought in the year 1773.
The following years saw a steady increase both in the number of the residents and in the improvements the mission underwent. In the year 1778, a dam was built in the river San Antonio. From then on, the progress of the mission was rapid. Even the lack of support from the Mexican Government didn’t hinder its steady rise. The Government secularized the mission in 1834. However, it was given back to the Catholics in 1863. At present, this mission is a Catholic retreat center.
The almost original design and the unspoiled beauty of the area make this one among the most attractive missions in the region. The irrigation system still stands as an unchanged reminder of the time. The following things set this mission apart from the others.
• The mission church: The church was restored to its present form in 1813. Three arch openings made from burned bricks was added to it in 1821.
• The mission bells: At either ends of the church, there are two bell towers. Each one features a bell. The largest among them is the third one; the oldest and the original.
• Art: The walls of the church are decorated with paintings drawn by the Indians at that time. The paintings of arcángel San Miguel with wings spread around and the patron of the church San Antonio can be described as drawing in its perfection.
• Music: The mission was renowned for great musicians. The museums here portray notations of music on the walls. It also features signals drawn by hand with a view to teach the residents.
All these make San Antonio de Padua one of the kind among all the missions in the area.
California Missions
A glimpse into the history of California mission would tell you that they were mostly self-reliant. They cultivated everything required to sustain their residents.
A research on their history is truly worth taking. They have a lot to tell you; about Spaniards and the struggles the natives had to suffer because of colonization.

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if you need more info about California Missions visit King of the Missions – Old Mission Museum at Oceanside and get all information you need. Click here

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