Mission San Buenaventura Garden and Exterior

For reasons lost in history, when I initially wrote about the Ventura Mission I made the tour go backwards. Normally, you would start at the gift shop, go through the Museum into the Garden, and then end in the Church. From there you go back into the garden and through a gate into the street. However you end up in the Garden, this page will show that along with other exterior views.

The garden is between the Museum and Church. Look carefully at the bottom left of the picture below. You will see a gate in the wall. This is where you will exit back to the street after your Mission visit; no matter what the order you choose to use.

Ventura Mission Garden

Picture taken 1:04pm 28 Sep 2011

The Hannon statue of Saint Serra is in the garden. It used to be in front of the Mission on the street but was moved into the locked area for safety. Don’t forget to rub the toe for luck.

Ventura Mission Hannon Serra Statue Location

Picture taken 3:05pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Hannon Serra Statue

Picture taken 2:56pm 30 Jan 2012

Look to the back of the garden for this interesting plant. It’s not labeled but I believe it to be an Angels’ Trumpet; named for the trumpet-shaped flowers (genus Brugmansia).

If I’m right, this is one where you should look but not touch. All parts of Brugmansia are poisonous, with the seeds and leaves being especially dangerous.

Ventura Mission Angels Trumpet Tree

Picture taken 1:40pm 14 Sep 2003

Ventura Mission Angels Mission

Picture taken 3:00pm 30 Jan 2012

There are not very many displays in the garden area. Two closer to the Museum stand out…

Ventura Mission Olive Press

Picture taken 3:04pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Our Lady of Grace

Picture taken 3:03pm 30 Jan 2012

The Olive Press is rebuilt but shows how the first pressing was accomplished using a moving wheel. The Our Lady of Grace shrine draws many visitors.

While you are outside, there is more to see behind the Mission Church. You will see a small path next to the Church leading toward the back of the Church. Take that and you will enter into a courtyard in front of the parish school. There you can see other interesting displays.

The small building is the first Settling Tank for the Mission water system. Water came into the tank where the solids settled out before the water went into the reservoir for use around the grounds plus drinking and cooking.

Ventura Mission Settling Tank

Picture taken 3:10pm 30 Jan 2012

Behind the Settling Tank and in front of the school is a statue of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680). The statue may say Blessed Tekakwitha as she was only recently canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica on October 21, 2012. She is the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Roman Catholic Church (after Juan Diego, the Mexican Indian of the Virgin of Guadalupe apparitions, and two other Oaxacan Indians).

Ventura Mission St Keteri Tekakwitha

Picture taken 3:09pm 30 Jan 2012

Finally, turn around and walk over to the back of the Church. There you will find a gravesite where three padres serving the Church are buried. They all passed away in the first third of the 1800s.

Ventura Mission Padre Gravesite

Picture taken 3:13pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Padre Graves Detail

Picture taken 3:11pm 30 Jan 2012

If your next stop is to be the inside of the Church walk back and across from the fountain you will find the entry door.

Ventura Mission Garden Fountain

Picture taken 3:07pm 30 Jan 2012

If you are following this backwards tour you will want to exit to the street where you can take a look at some interesting things at the front of the Mission. No matter how you do the tour, make a mental note to see these things first, last, or in the middle of your visit.

Out front look for the El Camino Real bell and then walk to the park across the street where you can get the best view of the two Norwalk pine trees planted in the 1880’s to serve as masts for ships. They were never cut down for that purpose and still grow today.

Ventura Mission El Camino Real Bell

Picture taken 3:28pm 30 Jan 2012

Ventura Mission Norwak Pines

Picture taken 3:25pm 30 Jan 2012

Look closely at the front of the Church and you will be able to see another statue of Saint Bonaventure in a small niche over the door. The bells are also visible from various angles. According to an article in the August 12, 2011 Ventura Star (Section A, pp 1-2) the bells are described as follows:

  • The bell facing north is labeled “S.San Francisco 1781.”
  • The bell facing east is called “San Pedro Alcantra 1781.”
  • A small swinging bell hangs in the top of the arch with the lettering “Ave Maria S. Joseph.”
  • A large bell hangs in the southern arch, and the crown is topped with a cross on its side. Inscribed on the bell is “Ave Maria Pruysyma D Sapoyan Ano D 1825,” which means “Hail Mary Most Pure. Mary of Zapopan Year of 1825.” This bell was originally cast for the church of Zapopan in Mexico but was later sent to Ventura. (This is the bell shown in the picture below.)
  • Another bell, which was once the gift of the Spanish viceroy, is inscribed Marquez de Croix Mexico November 12, 1770.”

Ventura Mission St Bonaventure

Picture taken 1:42pm 28 Sep 2011

Ventura Mission Bell

Picture taken 1:42pm 28 Sep 2011