Sharing information about the Mission’s unmarked graveyard; the “martyr” spot; and the adobe brick crosses
San Diego is the site of the first of the California Missions.
A Taphophile visit to Mission San Diego de Alcala is a bit disappointing. Why? There is no marked graveyard here. I do recognize that each site has its’ unique characteristics to accommodate the local area.
The original San Diego Mission site is near Old Town San Diego, founded in 1769. Franciscan priest Junipero Serra decided to move the Mission to its current location (inland) in 1774. He wanted it to be closer to the Kumeyaay village, a water source, and good soil for crops.
Father Jayme Cross
The cross shown in the photos below is a memorial to Father Luis Jayme. He died here on the Southeast side of the Mission complex. His efforts to “calm” the Kumeyaay villagers attacking the church did not help. Their protest of their forced labor resulted in the site burning to the ground. The Catholic church declared Father Jayme to be the first Christian martyr in California.
Entering the Mission
If you want to attend a church service here, it is free. If not, you have to pay an entrance fee in the gift shop. The photos below show the brochure you receive, with a map of the site. My finger shows the area off the map where I think the graveyard is located.
Casa de Los Padres
The Casa de Los Padres is directly behind the gift shop. This room is an example of the sleeping quarters for the priests. It has a diorama showing the Mission as it was first built. None of the structures in the model have a label. In my photos below you can see what looks to have been the graveyard in the Southeast section.
(In the photo below, I point at what I think is the location of the graveyard)
In my photos below, the nice garden area is just West of the chapel, near the Campanario or Bell Tower. It is one of the points of interest for a Taphophile visit to Mission San Diego de Alcala. There are seven or eight adobe crosses dedicated to the Kumeyaay. The Franciscans forced the Kumeyaay to make the bricks under slave conditions. In the second photo below, “The Garden” sign mentions the memorial crosses.
Buried at the Altar
A white marble cross is visible in the brick floor next to the Altar. It protects the remains of five individuals. Among them are Father Jayme, Father Juan Figuer, and Father Juan Mariner. Each of them served at the Mission.
Nothing in the brochures indicates the location of the graveyard. I didn’t see any signs near the gate in the first photo below. This location, as best I can tell, matches the spot on the diorama in the priest’s quarters.
The gate to the field is locked. We could not walk around the field to look for burial markers. The large cross in the middle is the only visible indication of a graveyard.