Serene Hills Bell Tower

The Serene Hills bell tower is under construction. The slab and wall footings will be poured this Saturday.

The bell tower will house a replica of the 1762 San Juan De Lorena Spanish Mission Bell weighing almost 100 pounds.


Here is a little bit of history on the mission which housed the original bell.

The San Juan Capistrano Mission

Father Fermin Lasuen founded the San Juan Capistrano Mission to interrupt the long journey between San Diego and San Gabriel on October 30, 1775.

Just eight days later, San Diego came under attack. The fathers immediately returned to San Diego, but first they buried the San Juan Capistrano Mission bells to keep them safe.

The following year, Father Serra returned to the Mission, dug up the bells, and re-founded the San Juan Capistrano Mission.

For 15 years the Mission was under construction. The bells hung on surrounding trees until 1791 when they were finally moved to the completed bell tower.

The Mission grew rapidly and in 1797 they started building what was to be the largest church in California. The church was successfully finished in 1806.

Just six years later, an earthquake destroyed the church killing 40 natives including two boys who were ringing the bells at the time.

In 1818, the pirate Bouchard attacked the Mission, gathered up the natives and fled.

After Mexico won its independence from Spain, they decided to end the nearly inactive Mission and sell the land. There were 861 Indians living there at thetime. From 1842 to 1845, there was not even a priest left at the Mission.

President Abraham Lincoln returned the land to the Catholic Church in 1863. Father Jose Mut was sent to reclaim the Mission, but he found it in ruins. The only building still standing was the chapel, which was used to store hay.

In 1910, Father John O’Sullivan came to San Juan Capistrano to help Father Mut rebuild the ruins. Slowly, Father O’Sullivan started rebuilding it all by himself.

Finally, eight years later, the San Juan Capistrano Mission was made into an active church again, which it still is today. Now, they have begun a 10-year program to stabilize and preserve it into the new century.

Serene Hills

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