|Mission San Luis Rey
Mission San Luis Rey in San Diego County is known as the King of Missions
because it is the largest and it's named after Saint Luis, the ninth King
of France. Like all of California's missions the mainstay of daily life
"The missionaries brought many kinds of trees and vegetables and
the natives had to learn how to take care of them," said Brother
Mo. He's one of the Franciscan Friars who operates the mission. Brother
Mo is also the designated tour guide and he gets some pretty amusing comments
"A lot of times they'll come up to the door and ask whether I'm a
real friar or am I someone from Hollywood who put on the religious habit
simply to talk to them," Brother Mo laughs. Mo loves giving tours and something he's especially fond of talking about
is San Luis Rey's most beautiful shade tree, California's first pepper
tree. The gnarly tree, native of Peru, was planted here about 1825 by
a sailor who carried some seed with him.
"When the sailors came here the food was pretty bland and the way
they spiced it up was with pepper," Brother Mo said. Mission San Luis Rey was founded in 1798 by the Franciscan Friars. It's
the 18th of the original 21. The most livestock of any mission was raised
here and 67,000 bushels of grain a year were produced.
Another interesting part of the mission to see is the Lavanderia or laundry.
Visitors can tour the ruins, which included 46 little steps where the
women washed clothes. Springs once flowed along either side, feeding a
large orchard and filling primitive bathtubs.
The mission not only attracts daily visitors, it's also a popular overnight
retreat for groups and individuals of all denominations. It's a great
place to relax and rejuvenate. If you're lucky you'll even meet Brother
For more information on Mission San Luis Rey call (760) 757-3659 or visit
the website at www.sanluisrey.org.