Monday, January 12, 2015

San Juan Capistrano

On our way back from Laguna Beach with the family we stopped at the San Juan Capistrano mission.  The kids weren't real interested and amused themselves at the Starbucks across the street and I went on a ten minute whirlwind tour of this mission with my camera.

Left Brain and I are old enough to remember the song about the swallows returning to Capistrano and wondered if it was really true.  Turns out it is.

The miracle of the “Swallows” of Capistrano takes place each year at Mission San Juan Capistrano, on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day.

As the faithful little birds wing their way back to the most famous mission in California, the village of San Juan Capistrano takes on a fiesta air and the visitors from all parts of the world, and all walks of life, gather in great numbers to witness the “miracle” of the return of the swallows.

At dawn on St. Joseph’s Day, the little birds arrive and begin rebuilding their mud nests, which are clinging to the ruins of the Great Stone Church of San Juan Capistrano. The arches of the two story, vaulted Great Stone Church were left bare and exposed, as the roof collapsed during the earthquake of 1812.

The Great Stone Church, said to be the largest and most ornate in any of the missions, now has a more humble destiny -- that of housing the birds that St. Francis loved so well.

After the summer spent within the sheltered walls of the Old Mission in San Juan Capistrano, the swallows take flight again, and on the Day of San Juan, October 23rd, they leave after circling the Mission bidding farewell to the “Jewel of the Missions.”

It would be a lot of fun to see this event, but alas, Arizona is calling our name for the month of March.

The architecture of this old mission is simply wonderful with it's brick arches and wooden doors.

There were many gardens and plants throughout the mission.  It would have been easy to spend an afternoon here to listen to the tours and enjoy the beauty slowly, but I was glad to have the quick glimpse that time allowed.

Long Live the Queen of Mission


  1. What a beautiful place - may have to visit there some day. Can't wait to see some flowers - soon!

  2. Oh my, what a beautiful place. Too bad you won't be there to see the birds as they return. I could spend all day in a place like this taking in all the beautiful architecture and flora. I just love your photos. I may not be there, but I'm enjoying all the beauty through your lens. Thank you. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  3. Well, if it were me, I would stay ... or if I couldn't, I would plan my next years visit to make sure I was there for the return of the swallows. I can see why they love the mission. It has a million places to build their mud nests and some protection as well. I don't know if birds have an appreciation for beauty, but that would be why I would go there every year if I were a swallow :) Your pictures are wonderful ... very enjoyable. And leave it to you to witness a common ordinary, probably well executed arrest,without abuse. So what's the fun in that? No abuse, no shooting ... but wait, they are white kids so that wouldn't happen. Sorry for letting my politics enter into the picture. You are a witness, however you look at it ... better leave town before you get called to testify :) Looking forward to your next post Queen of endless surprises ...

    Andrea @ From the Sol

  4. Beautiful post about the mission and swallows. St. Francis loved the animals and they all knew it. A mission is a sanctuary for those who seek shelter. Thanks for this.