Will and I talked about the generalities of missionaries, religious faith and superstition, the destruction and conversion of native peoples, etc., without going into the sordid details of the public floggings, work crews, mule stealing (and eating!), and a priest/prophet that typify the history of the Mission Santa Clara de Asis, but we also all took the time to explore, absorb, and study the architecture and design of the building and grounds:
|Look, a reliquary and relic! As a former medieval scholar, I had MUCH to say about this, as well.|
|hole in the wall|
This visit turned out to have been quite a successful one when, the next day, as we were driving around town, Will pointed out the window at a school (Matt's former high school, I do believe) and declared, "Hey! That looks like the mission!"
Yep, mission-style. We got it down.
P.S. Here are some of the resources on the California missions and Catholic saints that we've been using:
Saints and Angels offers an interesting tangent to the mission study, since the saints that the missions are named after have fascinating (and often fascinatingly gruesome!) stories of their own. Life in a California Mission is as close to a children's living history as I could get--it discusses the daily life of the people involved, at least. And The Birth of a State: California Missions DOES include the very problematic conversion activities of the missionaries, but in matter-of-fact, declarative sentences that make it a little easier to stomach.