The Missions: Number 9

Originally planned as the third Alta California mission, the early shortage of essential military troops postponed the founding of Mission San Buenaventura. But at last on Easter morning March 31, 1782, Father Presidente Junipero Serra raised the Cross at the beach of the Santa Barbara Channel, celebrated a High Mass, and dedicated the site to Saint Bonaventure. It was number nine in the chain, and the last mission founded during Father Serra’s lifetime. A seven-mile-long aqueduct built by Chumash Indians brought plentiful water, allowing the padres to maintain flourishing orchards and gardens, producing apples, grapes, bananas, pears, plums, pomegranates, figs, oranges, beans, grain, corn and barley. Cattle, horses, sheep, donkeys and goats once roamed the mission lands. However, the mission’s first church building was destroyed by fire. In 1792 work began on the present church and other buildings that formed a quadrangle around a plaza, completed 17 years later. Mission San Buenaventura was secularized in 1836, leased to private citizens, and restored to the Catholic Church in 1862, by proclamation of President Lincoln. In 1893, Father Rubio modernized the interior of the church, painting over the original artwork, covering the beamed ceiling and tile floors, and lengthening the windows. New priests restored the church to its original style in 1957. The mission intermittently provided education to children during the Mexican period, but has done so continuously since 1922, at Holy Cross School on the mission grounds. Known for its beautiful gardens and faithfully restored artifacts, Mission San Buenaventura welcomes visitors daily.



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