Mission San Fernando Convento

Completed in 1822, the Convento was thirteen years in construction. It is also the largest two-story adobe mission building in California and the only original building at this mission.

San Fernando Mission Convento Quadrangle Side

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

Note: I would normally put a picture of the arches here but it was too hot on the day I visited in 2015 to stay very long so that will come from the next visit. In the meantime, I’ll substitute a picture from 1934.

HAB Photo from 1934

1934

Outside the back of the building you will pass by an adobe wall which demonstrates how such structures were built.

San Fernando Mission Convento Wall

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

Today, the Convento has both restored rooms showing how residents lived and rooms holding extensive museum exhibits. Some of those are shown here.

Just inside the entry door you will find an old host press for making Communion hosts.

San Fernando Mission Convento Host Maker

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

And, a form for making roof tiles.

San Fernando Mission Convento Tile Maker

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

The inner workings of locks with keys are also on display.

San Fernando Mission Convento Lock and Keys

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

Small paintings of all 21 missions are also on display; artist unspecified.

San Fernando Mission Convento 21 Mission Paintings

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Wine Cellar Door

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

Most missions have a wine display somewhere on the grounds but the San Fernando Mission has restored the wine cellar; the only full cellar I’ve seen at any of the missions.

San Fernando Mission Convento Wine Cellar Stairway and Vat

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

The stairs have a new handrail but a tall person still has to duck and be careful.

The stairs are beside the large vat with an exit for the fluid at the bottom.

San Fernando Mission Convento Wine Vat Exit

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

The 18.5 by 46-foot room contains a wine press, boiler, and barrels set very much like they would have been during the mission period.

San Fernando Mission Convento Wine Barrels

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Cooker

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Cooker Output

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Press and Barrels

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

Most of the Convento rooms contain museum displays; some quite large. The “Ezcaray” collection is mentioned below. This refers to a collection of carved walnut altar, reredos, and pulpit pieces dating from 1687 and originally installed in the chapel of Saint Philip Neri at Ezcaray, Spain. These pieces were sold by the chapel to raise funds for rebuilding and some pieces have made their way to Mission San Fernando as well as the Cathederal of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

This display shows how a residence room might have looked during the mission era. Sparce, but functional furnishings are the norm.

San Fernando Mission Convento Typical Room

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

This organ is from the late 18th or 19th century and was part of the Ezcaray Collection. It has been restored with 25 pipes and a wood marbleized facade. A pair of bellows have been fitted into each side of the case to generate the air that creates the sound. This is reportedly the oldest organ in Northern America according to signs in the room.

San Fernando Mission Convento Old Pipe Organ

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

According to signs in the room, Father Patrick Sullivan presented this hand-carved portrayal of Christ. The candlesticks and floral stands were fashioned by Fusek’s in 1954 to match the Ezcaray reredos now in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

San Fernando Mission Convento Candle Holders

Picture Taken 1:30pm 13 August 2015

The hand-carved processional cross and candlestick set was also fashioned by Fusek’s in 1954 to match the Ezcaray altar pieces now in the sanctuary of this Mission. The vestments were worn in the Serra Chapel for over a quarter century.

San Fernando Mission Convento Cross and Vestments

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

It appears I forgot to take a picture of the sign for these seats from an altar area; presumably from the Ezcaray collection or replicas there-of.

San Fernando Mission Convento Altar Chairs

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

The vestments used in the mission era were the amice, alb, cincture, maniple, stole and chasuble; plus, at special services, the cope, humeral veil and surplice. Five colors dominated the vestments: white, red, green, violet and black with rose on Laetare and Gaudete Sundays and gold could be substituted for white, red and green. Blue was used for feasts of the Blessed Mother.

San Fernando Mission Convento Vestments

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

A display of saints with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (gospel writers) being the largest on the top row.

San Fernando Mission Convento Various Saints

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

In addition to the larger displays, there are many other individual displays. Some are shown here…

San Fernando Mission Convento Viaticum Communion Set

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

Vaticum Communion Set that features statues of the Holy Family with an insert of the Last Supper. This likely dates from the 1880s.

San Fernando Mission Convento Madonna and Child

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

An 18th century oil painting on wood of the Madonna and Child. This was an altar decoration and is part of the Ezcaray collection.

San Fernando Mission Convento Panel and Tabernacle Door

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

On the left is a 17th century relief panel of the Divine Infant with four angels in hard-cared mahogany. On the right is a tabernacle door from the Mexican period (1822-1848).

San Fernando Mission Convento Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

A 19th century Italian statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This is a carved and gilt wood crowned Virgin of Mount Carmel with a sun-ray halo in swirling drapery standing in the heavens, holding Baby Jesus in her left arm.

San Fernando Mission Convento Saint Anthony

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

An early 19th century wood statue of St. Anthony and Child Jesus from Mexico and original to Mission San Fernando.

One of the larger rooms was the original “La Sala” or reception room. This room was often the first room a visitor would enter through the double doors. Travelers received a welcome and enjoyed the Franciscan hospitality for as long as they wished to stay. In later times, when the original Church was abandoned, this room served as a chapel.

San Fernando Mission Convento La Sala Panorama

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

Various pieces of art hang on the walls in the Convento. Most are not specifically identified. A selection is shown below (don’t forget that you can click on any image to see a larger version)…

San Fernando Mission Convento Dolci Painting Mary Magdalene

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

Saint Francis Solano

San Fernando Mission Convento Saint Francis Solano

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Funeral Painting

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Madonna and Child

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Painting

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Painting

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Madonna and Child

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Painting

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

 Saint Juan Diego

San Fernando Mission Convento Saint Juan Diego

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

The latter, Saint Juan Diego, is designed by artist John Nava; the artist who produced the tapestry cycle of the Communion of Saints hanging in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

Other exhibits or works of art in the Convento include…

A chair used by Pope John Paul II for Morning Prayer at the San Fernando Mission 16 September 1987.

San Fernando Mission Convento Pope John Paul II Chair

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

A functional pump organ or Harmonium in an original oak case dating from 1916. This was originally used in the Mission San Jose church. It was acquired and refurbished by Jim Taylor of San Francisco and sold to a collector. It was presented to the San Fernando Mission by Michael Pierceall of Pasadena in 2012.

San Fernando Mission Convento Harmonium

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

A collection of postcards relating to the San Fernando Mission put together by Dave Beaumont.

San Fernando Mission Convento Post Card Collection

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

A Mexican carved wood statue from the 17th or 18th century and representing the Scourging at the Pillar.

San Fernando Mission Convento Scourging

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

The Crucifixion. A hand-fired ceramic with human hair dating from the 18th or early 19th century. The statue was retrieved from a church in the Philippines and brought to the United States by a soldier after World War II. It came to the Mission in the 1980s.

San Fernando Mission Convento Crucifixion

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

Restored artwork of the Tree of Life over a doorway in the Convento.

San Fernando Mission Convento Doorway Art

Picture Taken 1:45pm 13 August 2015

You exit the Convento proper through the library and then out through the smoke room. Here is a wide view of the library…

San Fernando Mission Convento Library Panorama

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

The center of the room is anchored by a large lectern-portion with the top in the shape of an eagle that dates from the 18th century.

San Fernando Mission Convento Library Lectern

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

A sample of other items in the library include…

San Fernando Mission Convento Library Saint Thecla

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

A statue of Saint Thecla from 18th century Austria. It’s hand carved polychromed wood draped with a small gold cape. This is highly appropriate as Saint Thecla is the Patron Saint of Librarians.

San Fernando Mission Convento Original Wall

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

A section of original wall is on display in the library room.

San Fernando Mission Convento Library Music

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

An Antiphonal dating from late 16th or 17th century Spain. It is hand-written in Latin with decorative borders. In use, this would have been placed on a rotating podium so friars and others on opposite of the chapel could read it as needed.

San Fernando Mission Convento Library Bible

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

This is Volume 2 of the French edition of La Sainte Bible which was published at Antwerp by Plantin and Moret in 1757. It bears the ex libris of Zephirin R. Faime, Boston 1842.

San Fernando Mission Convento Library Annunciation

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

An undocumented painting of the Annunciation where Mary learns she will be giving birth to Jesus.

San Fernando Mission Convento Christ Crucified

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

Just outside the library you will find this depiction of the Crucified Christ. It appears in the earliest inventories of the Mission and was only moved from the sanctuary when the Ezcaray Altar pieces were installed.

San Fernando Mission Convento Decorated Room

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

View of another room decorated in the fashion of the times.

Finally, before exiting the main portion of the Convento you come to the Meat Smoking Room. Here meats were hung and smoked in this chimney during September and October. They were then carried up the stairs to a 2nd floor storage area.

San Fernando Mission Convento Meat Smoking Area

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

San Fernando Mission Convento Grinding Wheel

Picture Taken 2:00pm 13 August 2015

As you exit, look around and note the grinding wheel on display.