Mission San Juan Capistrano
Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuén, a Spanish missionary, founded the mission in 1775. The mission was to expand the territories of Spain and to educate the natives on Christianity. Over the next 30 years, the mission grew to over 1,000 in population. The mission offers a variety of tours featuring the 10 acres of gardens, adobes and beautiful fountains throughout the mission.
The Swallows Of San Juan Capistrano
Father St. John O’Sullivan, who was the pastor of the Mission from 1910 to 1933, recalls the legend of the swallows in the book “Capistrano Nights”. He told the Author, Charles Francis Saunders, that he noticed an innkeeper destroying the nests of the swallows that had nested in his eaves. Their conversation, “What in the world are you doing?” O’Sullivan asked.
“Why these dirty birds are a nuisance and I am getting rid of them!” the shopkeeper responded.
“But where can they go?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care,” he replied, slashing away with his pole. “But they’ve no business here, destroying my property.”
O’Sullivan then said, “Come on swallows, I’ll give you shelter. Come to the Mission. There’s room enough there for all”. There you have it, the next morning the swallows were building nests at the mission.
The cliff swallows make their annual pilgrimage to the mission near mid-April and return to Argentina, 6,000 miles to the south, around the day of San Juan, October 23rd.