Capturing a glimpse inside Mission San Luis Rey Church is challenging from a photographic perspective. First, there’s the diminished available light when flash photography is not allowed. Plus, because the Mission is open to the public, it is important to respect the privacy of others, whether visitor or worshiper, so capturing parts of the church without people in it is a challenge. And it’s challenging because there is so much to see! On a recent outing, Charlie and I stopped at the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia and as usual, I took hundreds of photos!
Against a glorious Southern California blue sky, the exterior of this beautiful mission church is glorious. If you missed the first post in this series, with exterior photos of Old Mission San Luis Rey, click on this link: Mission San Luis Rey de Francia.
Covering 56 acres, Old Mission San Luis Rey rests atop a hill in a park-like setting above a major thoroughfare. With plenty of parking, the mission welcomes visitors 7 days a week, but is closed on major holidays. As you walk into the church, soaring ceilings with giant wooden rafters frame the lovely, ornate altar in the distance.
Plastered white walls with columns and arches adorned with frescos, guide the eye upward.
Large windows nestle inside thick adobe walls – some closed…
and some opened.
Charming fresco borders adorn the ceiling and rafters as well as the “chair rail” on either side of the church’s pews.
Each arch and column is different, a unique blend of craftsmanship and personality. And although worn in places, still majestically beautiful.
This angel fresco is above an arched doorway inside Mission San Luis Rey.
An arched fresco doorway leading to another part of the sanctuary.
One of the domed ceilings high above the altar inside Mission San Luis Rey.
An interior arched window with iron grate lending light to another room.
A statue of Mary in the candle grotto gracefully offering all who enter peace…
and candles aglow with the shared offerings of many who stopped by to light a candle for a loved one.
Another glorious dome; this one flooded with light from the windows above inside Mission San Luis Rey.
The pulpit inside Mission San Luis Rey de Francia church – how many sermons have been shared since 1798?
A statue of King Louis IX of France, the patron of the 3rd order of Franciscans, for whom the mission is named. “San Luis Rey” is Spanish for “Saint Louis the King”. King Louis IX was taught by early Franciscans and was Spanish on his mother’s side. He died fighting in the Crusades and was canonized in 1297.
One of the many paintings that adorn the walls of the church.
A statue of Joseph – he resides at the main altar to the left of Jesus on the cross, with Mary to the right.
A statue of a Franciscan Friar…
and a statue of a priest…
And another statue of King Louis IX of France at the top of the altar.
A close-up of Jesus nailed to the cross, which is the main focal point of the ornate altar.
These 20+ photos are just a glimpse of the glorious church and represent only the best of a collection of hundreds of photos. With the low light inside the church, it is just not possible for me to capture the different parts of this santuary with my limited photographic abilities! As we walked down the center aisle to exit the church, notice the choir loft in the dark rafters above.
Enjoy more posts about the Missions I visited from the Toot Sweet 4 Two archives:
Operation Swallow Adios (Mission San Juan Capistrano