t the end of a long day, my husband Joe and I often talk about our respective jobs serving as the executive director of a historic landmark and the president of two science museums.
Often our conversation centers back to how honored I am to be at the receiving end of calls from people who are facing significant challenges in their lives looking for solace. Their understanding of the Mission as a historic landmark is then reinforced to me that they also appreciate this 238-year-old place as a spiritual place. I can hear in their voices that the power and meaning of this place is on their mind. Somehow in their fog I get to be momentarily “there for them,” directing them to a priest, a candle, or place on the grounds and in some cases in person, giving a hug.
This year as we saved old paintings, raised funds for conservation, celebrated the good times with our guests and members, educated tens of thousands of students, my phone rang intermittently to cause me to take pause. So as the calendar year approaches its end, it’s timely to remember that the Mission is a place for appreciating the beauty of life. I know this because many times when those calls came in, I would look out my office window to see our gardening angels working and I remember that we as stewards of historic landmarks can be angels in others’ lives simply by making historic places like this accessible.
With each passing year, I feel more deeply that historic places like Mission San Juan Capistrano have the power to transform a moment, a life, and a community. The Mission is not a roadside attraction to be lumped in with other attractions; it is a place of purpose and power. It’s value is immeasurable.
And coincedentally, as I wrote this column, I got a call from a friend whose husband lost his battle with cancer, and all I could do was to promise to visit the Serra Chapel for her and for him.
Know that in 2015, I will continue to take your calls, and will work hard to ensure that we never let up on our efforts to save the Mission so that it can serve others.
As we approach the new year let me say thank you for making it possible for the Mission to be a place of beauty, inspiration, service and solace and a place to celebrate that life is beautiful. Your gifts of support matter.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from all of us!
See you on the path,
Mechelle Lawrence Adams
Executive Director, Mission San Juan Capistrano
The Mission Preservation Foundation Board includes: