A Birthday Celebration

A 17th century reliquary of St. Barbara donated by Harry Downie.

A 17th century reliquary of St. Barbara donated by Harry Downie.

By Monica Orozcco

We recently celebrated not one, but two, important birthdays. December 4, 2014, the Feast Day of St. Barbara, marked the 228th anniversary of the founding of Old Mission Santa Barbara. It also marked the launch of a year’s commemoration leading up to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Province of St. Barbara.

Approximately 75 guests shared this occasion with us by attending the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library’s open house. We had on exhibit items from our vault that symbolized important founding moments or transitions in Franciscan Mission history and early California history.

On display were two sacramental registers and three documents that helped tell the story of the founding of Mission Santa Bárbara. One register from April 21, 1782 and prepared by Fr. Junípero Serra, allowed patrons to see evidence of the change in plans which postponed the founding of the Mission until after Serra’s death. The second register prepared by Fr. Fermín Lasuén marked the establishment of Mission Santa Bárbara on the Feast Day of St. Barbara in 1786.

This celebration gave us an opportunity to exhibit items rarely on display such as the Papal Bulls isssued in 1840 by Pope Gregory XVI establishing the Diocese of California and appointing Francisco García Diego y Moreno as the first Bishop of California.

Also on display were two painting by James Madison Alden who served on a US Survey ship in the 1850s as well as a map of California from 1848 used in the California Constitutional Convention of 1849.

Guests were also given special access to the Mission museum and its new exhibit marking the 100th anniversary of the Province of St. Barbara. Former SBMAL intern and new Assistant Archivist for the Provincial Archives, Rachel Hatcher, and SBMAL intern Brittany Bratcher worked together to prepare this exhibit, “A Franciscan Legacy in the West.” They also had assistance from SBMAL volunteer Jenna Jordan during installation.

Among the Franciscan Friars in attendance were Fr. Kenan Osborne, Brother Brian Trawick, Fr. Richard McManus, Old Mission Santa Barbara Guardian Brother Angelo Cardinall, and St. Barbara Parish Pastor Fr. Charles Talley. Many friends were also present including Marc and Pauline Sylvain, Mary Louise Days, Prof. Heather Keaney of Westmont College, and UCSB professor of History and Anthropology James Brooks, the newest member of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library Board of Trustees. But we also enjoyed meeting many new friends, some who had never visited the Mission before! Guests were guided through all the activities by SBMAL volunteers and Old Mission Santa Bárbara Docents.

Many thanks to all who came out to this and all our events this year! We are looking forward to many more exciting events to share with all of you next year!

Be sure to visit our Facebook page, visit our website http://www.sbmal.org, or sign up for our electronic newsletter by emailing director@sbmal.org, to be updated about our future events.

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