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Mission San Miguel Arcángel

Mission San Miguel Arcángel 

Mission San Miguel Arcángel (Saint Michael the Archangel) was founded by Father Presidente Fermín Franscisco de Lasuén, on July 25, 1797. The Mission is located on El Camino Real along the current Highway 101, in the town of San Miguel, California. The Mission forms the link between Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and Mission San Antonio de Padua, each a day’s ride (horseback) away.

The first chapel was destroyed by fire in 1806, but was restored in a year, with assistance from neighboring Missions. In 1836, Colonel Ignacio Coronel assumed jurisdiction of San Miguel Mission property and lands for the Mexican government, secularizing the Mission. According to the Wikipedia article about the MissionGovernor Pio Pico sold the Mission to Petronillo Rios and William Reed for $600 in 1846. Reed and his family, who used the Mission as a residence and store, were murdered in 1848. Over its history, the Mission has been used as a saloon, dance hall, storeroom, and living quarters. In 1859 , Mission San Miguel, which had been confiscated by the U.S. government after secularization, was returned to the Roman Catholic Church by President James Buchanan. In 1878, after 38 years without a resident priest, Father Philip Farrelly became Pastor of the Mission.

Today, the Mission serves as a local parish, a novitiate for training young Franciscans, and a center for retreats and meetings. Sadly, the Mission chapel was severely damaged in the San Simeon earthquake of December 222003, and the chapel will be off-limits to the public until funding (millions of dollars were still required when we visited) is secured for seismic retrofitting. A side view of the chapel shows the timbers, behind the large crucifix in the photo, which braced the wall at the time of our visit.

If you are traveling north on Highway 101, you might see this first indication of the Mission. The Mission is quite beautiful, and I wish that I had the resources to donate to complete its restoration. Some of the sights that can be seen, even with the chapel off limits, are: the wall and yucca along the road, an altar for Masses “in the parking lot”, beautiful gates (123), the interior garden and fountainhallways, an exterior fountain, and the cemetery. (I had to fully extend the tripod to take this shot over the construction fence and wall. Note the small ground squirrel standing vertically in the shade of the small bush in the lower right center of the photo.) The cemetery is also off limits until retrofitting is funded and finished.

Visit Mission San Miguel Arcángel if you get a chance; there is still much to see. Donate to the restoration of the Mission if you have the means and are looking for a worthy charity.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®.

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