Mission Soledad Church

Below you should see a rotating panorama of the complete inside of the Mission Church. You should be able to click on the panorama to stop the rotation at any point and then drag the mouse left, right, up, or down to see any specific area. If you have a mouse wheel, it should be able to be used to zoom in and out. If one or more of these behaviors does not work click on the full screen icon (top right corner) and try the behavior again. If you are at full screen, press the ESCape key to have the panorama return to this page.

At this Mission flash photography is not allowed.

The Church is small; more on the size of a chapel. This is reasonable as the original Church was on the other side of the quadrangle. Later in the tour, when you go to the ruins, you will walk over its location and see the gravesites found in the floor. The ultimate plan for restoration at this Mission would be to research and then reconstruct the Church. Money being an obstacle, this may not take place any time soon.

The sanctuary has changed some between 2003 (top) and 2012 (bottom) but the basic design is the same. The biggest changes are the moving of several pictures and the removal of the altar rail to better conform with more current sanctuary designs and place the people more in touch with the Eucharist. As you saw in the panorama above, small pieces of the altar rail remain on the left and right sides.

Soledad MIssion Church Altar 2012

Picture taken 11:44am 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Altar Area 2003

Picture taken 1:55pm 1 Sep 2003

In particular, note the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows above the altar. It follows the custom of early artists in producing a head and extremities but only a rough torso and then covering that with cloth. This saved time in producing the statue.Note, also, above the statue the wall painting representing the seven piercings of the heart that Mary is said to have sustained: (1) Prophesy of Simeon, (2) Flight to Egypt, (3) Child Jesus lost in Temple, (4) Meeting Jesus carrying cross, (5) The Crucifixion, (6) Receiving body of Jesus from cross, (7) Placing Jesus in tomb.

Soledad Mission Church Our Lady of Sorrows Statue

Picture taken 11:27am 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Seven Piercings

Picture taken 11:45am 26 Feb 2012

Looking at the other art along the wall behind the altar you see, left to right, a painting of baby Jesus being carried, the tabernacle, and a wooden cross.

Soledad Mission Painting - Jesus Carried

Picture taken 11:46am 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Wood Cross

Picture taken 11:48am 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Tabernacle

Picture taken 12:05pm 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Holy Water Stoup

Picture taken 12:07pm 26 Feb 2012

There are two design motifs you should look for; one on the walls and one at the step to the sanctuary. The one on the walls is a motif that you find at many missions. It consists of a wavy line with dots. The line represents the “river of life” and the dots represent souls moving between grace and falling out of grace as they bob up and down. You can see it here around the holy water stoup. The second motif on the step leading into the sanctuary consists of pomegranate flowers and is thought to be the original design pattern of this Mission.

Soledad Mission Pomegranate Flower Design

Picture taken 11:27am 26 Feb 2012

Reviewing the brochures collected during the 2003 and 2012 visits there is one anomaly that stands out. In both, there is a reference to a painting of “Our Lady of Refuge” as being in the sanctuary and being an original painting from the Mission. If you do a search for Our Lady of Refuge the picture below is the one that consistently shows up. A larger, similar painting was hanging in the sanctuary in 2003 but was not there in 2012. In both cases the painting below was hanging toward the roof in a small anteroom you have to pass through between the Museum and Church. Since sanctuary is a term generally used for the area directly around the altar and anterooms have other names this seems like an error in the brochure. [Note: The painting of Our Lady of Refuge hanging by the altar in 2003 was, in 2012, in the Museum. It’s possible that one is the painting referred to but the one below seems like the older of the two. The Museum version hangs in the La Sala (largest) room. You’ll see it on the Museum page.] So, which is the painting referred to in the brochure is a question you can ask the docent when you visit the Mission. If you get a specific, accurate answer, please use the contact form to let me know.

Soledad Mission Painting - Our Lady of Refuge

Picture taken 12:10pm 26 Feb 2012

Artwork in the Church

Besides the Stations of the Cross, there are a number of period pieces of art hanging in the Church. Those are shown here; some have a name; many are simply general period pieces.

There are two paintings that show Our Lady of Solitude. Particularly in Mexico special devotion is practiced to Nuestra Senora de la Soledad or Our Lady of Solitude. This devotion was instituted to reflect Our Lady’s solitude on Holy Saturday. [Side Note: The Basilica of Our Lady of Solitude in Oaxaca, Mexico, dating from 1690, is said to sit on the spot a mysterious donkey died. When the people of Oaxaca examined the contents of the donkey’s heavy pack they discovered a remarkable statue of Our Lady of Solitude and built a Church in her honor on that spot.]

Soledad Mission Painting - Our Lady of Solitude #1

Picture taken 11:47am 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Painting - Our Lady of Solitude #2

Picture taken 12:00noon 26 Feb 2012

Other paintings include St. Michael…

Soledad Mission Painting - St Michael

Picture taken 11:59am 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Painting - St Euangelista

Picture taken 11:59am 26 Feb 2012

…and what is said to be S. Ivan Euangelista. It might be Saint John but Ivan doesn’t translate to John so that’s uncertain. Also, the “u” might be a “v” making the painting refer to one of the Evangelists. Also, there is a cathedral to St. Ivan Evangelista on Rab Island, Croatia. So, this may be a reference to a Croatian saint. In short, unknown at this time.
Unknown painting of Jesus with an orb.

Soledad Mission Painting - Jesus with Orb

Picture taken 12:09pm 26 Feb 2012

And, two paintings of the Sacred Heart of Mary. The one on the right appears to be an enlargement of the center of the one on the left.

Soledad Mission Painting - Sacred Heart of Mary

Picture taken 12:10pm 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Painting - Sacred Heart of Mary

Picture taken 12:10pm 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission St Francis Statue

Picture taken 12:01pm 26 Feb 2012

On the right side of the Church are two small alcoves. One holds a statue of Saint Francis with birds at his feet. The second holds three period paintings and a small statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Soledad Mission Our Lady of Guadalupe Statue

Picture taken 12:03pm 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Painting - Sacred Heart Mary

Picture taken 12:02pm 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Painting - Jesus Crown of Thorns

Picture taken 12:02pm 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Painting - Sacred Heart of Jesus

Picture taken 12:03pm 26 Feb 2012

The baptismal font beside the altar and an interesting back door round out the art at this Church.

Soledad Mission Baptismal Font

Picture taken 12:06pm 26 Feb 2012

Soledad Mission Door

Picture taken 12:07pm 26 Feb 2012

Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross in this church are original paintings. The willow used to make the crosses on top of the Stations still grows in the river west of the Mission. Click on a thumbnail to show the full image and then navigate between them in the lightbox or just click on the play button and watch the slide show.

Soledad Stations #1

1 – Jesus is condemned to die

Soledad Stations #2

2 – Jesus carries the cross

Soledad Stations #3

3 – Jesus falls the 1st time

Soledad Stations #4

4 – Jesus meets His Blessed Mother

Soledad Stations #5

5 – Simon helps bear the cross

Soledad Stations #6

6 – Veronica wipes face of Jesus

Soledad Stations #7

7 – Jesus falls a 2nd time

Soledad Stations #8

8 – Jesus meets women of Jerusalem

Soledad Stations #9

9 – Jesus falls the 3rd time

Soledad Stations #10

10 – Jesus stripped of His garments

Soledad Stations #11

11 – Jesus is crucified

Soledad Stations #12

12 – Jesus dies on the cross

Soledad Stations #13

13 – Jesus taken down from the cross

Soledad Stations #14

14 – Jesus body laid in the tomb

Pictures taken 11:45am 26 Feb 2012