San Luis Rey de Francia – Missions of California

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is the unique jewel of California. It is still active and we have a Museum with lots of interesting museum artifacts that can tell you more about the history of Old Oceanside Mission. It is more than two centuries old and the architecture truly looks interesting and beautiful. When you step onto the Mission’s ground, you immediately feel the spirit of the old times.

The History Of The Old Mission 

San Luis Rey is the eighteenth Mission of the total 21 that were established along the California coast – see complete California Missions Map. It is located in the valley along the Royal Road.

It covered the enormous area of 950,400 acres that served for different purposes. There were premises for praying, sleeping, dining and many other purposes. This is understandable, since mission San Luis Rey was self-sustainable, like all the other missions, meaning that all the food and tools were predominantly produced by Natives.

They knew how to utilize wood, stone, hides, bones, grasses, and reeds, as well as seashells for making garments, tools, pottery and baskets, ceremonial religious items and to cultivate and harvest flora.

The goal of establishing these Missions was educating Natives and converting them to Christianity.

Spanish Missions were oriented towards making productive society members and the Mission was the result of cooperation between the church and government. They were quite successful and truly loved by Natives, which only says about the way they lived altogether and helped each other.

Architectural Style

The way that Mission looks like is truly interesting and it was copied by many. Natives used everything they could from their surroundings to make a good, sustainable construction that will last for a long time.

Their method was quite effective, since they produced mud bricks from earth and water, chaff, straw, and manure, making even brick molds in order to produce more at once. It was quite easy to make and carry, which made the whole process much easier. The Mission is shaped in the form of a cross and the interior has double-dome wooden construction.

To learn more about missions architecture visit this page – California Missions Q&A.

Visit The Museum

If you wish to find out more about the history of Old Mission San Luis Rey, you should visit the museum and see all the interesting museum artifacts!

  • In honor of the 300th anniversary of Fr. Junipero Serra’s birth, fragments, and fringe from a liturgical vestment worn by him are prominently displayed, so you can easily imagine how he looked like.
  • There is also a large key with a coiled snake and it goes back to Genesis and the Eden quest for eternal knowledge which would be the key to eternal life.
  • You can see the statue of Louis IX King of France (1215-1270). Louis was the son of Luis VIII and Blanche of Castille, sister of Saint Ferdinand, King of Spain.

If you visit the Video Room, you will see the collection of liturgical vestments. The entire Mission speaks of the old times, you just need to look close enough and you will soon realize just how rich the legacy is.

How is Old Mission Used Today?

San Luis Rey de Francia is still active and organizes different types of retreats and offers premises to companies who wish to organize conferences and meetings. There is no better place to retreat than a peaceful estate where you can focus on your thoughts and spend a couple of days simply resting or praying. We encourage you to come and see for yourself.

We welcome all the visitors that want to find out more about our Mission and learn interesting things. This is why we have so many different museum artifacts that can tell you a lot about the history of San Luis Rey and take you far back in time, so you can understand it better and admire the courage of our ancestors. It won’t be hard for you to imagine how they spent their days and worked in the field. Just the walk through the estate will inspire and relax you.

Oceanside Mission is truly a gem of California and visiting it is a valuable and inspiring experience. If you are interested to learn most interesting facts about missions and Oceanside mission register for Behind the Scene Tour. Trained curators will provide historical facts and amazing stories about this historic landmark in 75 minutes tour.

Since you’re here...

Did you know the Mission San Luis Rey is completely self-supporting?

No money is received from the state or federal governments, the Catholic Church, or the Diocese. Operating funds are raised by our Retreat Center, Museum, Gift Shop, Cemetery, and generous donations from people like you.

Help preserve the Old Mission San Luis Rey for future generations! Please, click on Make a Donation form or Membership Form button and choose a membership option. Thank you.