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The Capitol by Moonlight (Paul McGehee)
The Capitol by Moonlight (Paul McGehee)
Carmel Mission (Paul McGehee)

“Carmel Mission” by Paul McGehee. Formally known as the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, the Mission was first built in 1797 by Franciscan Missionaries, and for many years lay in ruins. The Mission at Carmel, California has now been authentically restored as a reminder of the system of Roman Catholic Missions throughout California in the early days. Back in the late 1700's, Fr. Junipero Serra (1713-1784) established his first Mission in Monterrey, but moved it to the mouth of the Carmel Valley a few years later because of the harsh environment imposed by the local military government. The Mission at Carmel soon became Serra's headquarters, an oasis of peace and solitude in those early years of California. Local Indians were baptized in the waters of the Carmel River, and they helped raise crops on the grounds of the Mission to help feed the people of the environs. They also raised and tended livestock such as horses, sheep and cattle. Fr. Serra was instrumental in not only bringing Christianity to the west coast but bringing peace and stability to the region. After his death in 1784 the Mission continued its work under the guidance of the Catholic Church in Spain, but ran afoul of the Mexican government which seized the lands of all of the Missions in 1833, supposedly to give them back to the people, but in reality became a land grab for Mexico's elite. The once lovely Carmel Mission was in ruins by 1850, and was finally regained by the Catholic Church in 1859. The Mission has only been saved from oblivion by the work of many hard working volunteers over the last several decades. The Carmel Mission stands today as a working Catholic Basilica with a large following in their Parish. Fr. Junipero Serra was made a Saint by Pope John Paul II in 1988 for his work establishing several Missions throughout old California. One can visit the Carmel Mission today and see not only Fr. Serra's spartan sleeping quarters and work areas, but visit his simple tomb as well. The Mission Building and grounds are now designated a National Historic Landmark on the Register of Historic Places. “Carmel Mission” is faithfully reproduced as an archival-quality print from McGehee's original color pencil and acrylic artwork, each hand-signed by the artist.

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