Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Peek Inside the San Miguel Mission Church

Mission San Miguel Sign with Belfry in Background, © B. Radisavljevic
I grew up in California and I taught fourth grade in California. That meant I studied California missions as both student and teacher. I don't remember ever getting to actually visit a mission until I was teaching my own children at home.

At that time we visited La Purisima near Lompoc on a mission life day. I remember making candles and watching other mission activities that were part of the everyday mission life performed by people wearing historical dress.  I would recommend that anyone take their children to any such enactments at a nearby mission.

 We also visited the Ventura Mission, since we lived close to it at the time. On a trip to San Diego we explored every mission in the area and on the way. I took my son to visit the mission in Carmel many years later. For some reason, we never made it to Mission San Miguel, even though we often passed it on our many trips between Newbury Park and Carmel Valley. Now that I've taken a closer look than we saw passing by on the 101 Freeway, I'm sorry we never stopped.

It's always best to see a mission in person if you can. You can see the sights in the virtual tours linked to above, but you miss the sounds, the smells, and the overall atmosphere, such as the sense of peace in an isolated mission such as San Miguel, Santa Ysabel Asistencia or La Purisima. You also miss the squirrels and the birds. With that said, the virtual tours are the best substitute I know for visiting a mission in person. You can see the virtual tour of Mission San Miguel here.

San Miguel Mission Church Interior from side entrance, © B. Radisavljevic

I discovered these virtual tours of the missions when I was trying to understand my own pictures. I will show you two of my photos of the interior of the mission church here. This was taken as I walked in the side entrance from the mission arcade. You can click on either photo to enlarge it.

San Miguel Mission Church Interior from nave, © B. Radisavljevic This photo was taken looking toward the altar from the middle of the nave. If you take the virtual tour linked to above, you an actually move around the church and stop where you want a closer look. You can then zoom in on what interests you.

I certainly wish they had virtual tours available when I was in school. Now any student anywhere can visit any California mission -- almost. But you still can't watch the squirrels. And I hate to tell you, teachers and priests, that most nine-year-olds would rather be outside watching the squirrels than inside looking at the art on the walls. One needs to grow up a bit to properly appreciate the church architecture and art that man created more than the squirrels and birds God created.


  1. I have taken road trips to California many times and enjoy stopping to tour the missions, but I've never seen the San Miguel mission. What a beauty! Thank you for the tour.

  2. The church is so pretty, and the link was very much appreciated. It's lovely that you preserve your heritage sites in Paso Robles. And I very much enjoy seeing them through your blog.

    1. Those virtual tours amaze me. You are able to look around the church from the other side of the world.


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