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By Mechelle Lawrence Adams

Welcome to the Mission’s column, “Finding Inspiration,” which comes from our new book written to celebrate the history and beauty of the Mission gardens.

As we steer Mission San Juan Capistrano through recovery from the pandemic, we look here for inspiration, faith, and friendship to guide the way.

For example, we find joy in the news that the Mission is now open six days a week offering a safe, outdoor experience. After two closures, being able to open our doors to a grateful public is a source of inspiration.

Longtime Mission San Juan Capistrano supporters Peter and Connie Spenuzza will be honored at a gala on Sept. 17. Photo: Lisa Renee Baker

We remain indebted to O’Connell Landscape Maintenance and our Gardening Angels for taking good care of the Mission during this difficult time. Along with them, we find inspiration from our volunteer docents, who continued to give tours.

There is inspiration in the return of on-site fourth-grade field trips and the fact that 28,000 California fourth-graders took advantage of our virtual field trip program last year.

The beautiful and historic Serra Chapel remains open to our guests to provide inspiration and the chance for personal prayer or meditation in the very place that many local Catholics have called their spiritual home for decades.

After a long hiatus, the Mission Preservation Foundation Board of Directors is also paving the way for its ever-inspiring Romance of the Mission benefit gala. With reduced capacity, this sold-out event raises important funds for preservation and gives the board the opportunity to celebrate Connie and Dr. Peter Spenuzza for their longtime support of the Mission’s preservation. (By the way, this amazing couple is featured in today’s edition of The Capistrano Dispatch).

We find inspiration in the many generous friends who are supporting the gala’s opportunity drawing—including Lugano Diamonds of Newport Beach providing four-and-a-half carat rose gold and round cognac diamond earrings; the Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano offering a fabulous Stay and Play Package; and a timeless Cartier Tank Solo watch given to the event from our dear friends at The Swiss Connection, Inc. and Jean-Jacques Mamie Fine Jewelry. Finally, our pal, Jim Curwood at Buy My Bikes, donated two Electra Townie 7D EQ bikes. All proceeds from the drawing will benefit Mission preservation.

Although this past year was very difficult, the Mission was greatly supported by many generous individuals. May we find inspiration from their collective efforts knowing that the Mission is tethered by time and the lasting impact of faithful stewards.

Mechelle Lawrence Adams is the executive director of Mission San Juan Capistrano. The Orange County native was a city planner-turned-nonprofit director with background in preservation, fundraising, economic development and marketing. Lawrence Adams has served on a variety of commissions, including the Orange County Historical Commission, and her team has been widely recognized for their leadership and impact in historic preservation benefiting California’s historic missions.

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comments (1)

  • Too many people in one place, and how many more cars and people are going to an event like this.? actually a mess this city council is doing to let all this over people population, and wine beer food a Bunch of very un Healthy Valley.All the Germs in this Old Mission OMG..Your breathing everyone’s insides , and exhaust from all these cars.

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