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Behind the Adobe Curtain

My recent post, Missions: Impossible! garnered more responses than any of my previous blogs. Most were strongly positive, but a few readers were upset by my comparison of the California Mission system to Nazi labor camps and asked for more information. Proof of my claim is evident in a number of books as well as journals, diaries and Mission records kept by the Franciscans themselves. In addition to Life in a California Mission, Monterey in 1786, the journals of Jean François de la Péruse (mentioned in my first post), I highly recommend Indians,  Franciscans, and Spanish Colonization: The Impact of the Mission System on California Indians by Robert H. Jackson. Published in 1996, this book is  packed with facts and figures about everything from birth and death...

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Missions: Impossible!

Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places, and my newest book, Communion of Sinners, is a perfect example. When I first visited Carmel Mission thirteen years ago , I was moved by the beauty of this historic 1793 structure with its domed bell tower and striking star window. The courtyard reminded me of a movie set with its lush palms, Spanish-style tiered fountain and walls splashed with dazzling bougainvillea. My fascination continued when I saw the elaborate bronze and marble tomb of Father Junipero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan friar who founded the missions and whose good deeds are taught to all California fourth-graders. I was repeatedly told how the padres converted the Indians to Christianity, invited them to live in the missions and gave them food...

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