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Padre Jose Francisco de Paula Senan
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Birth: 1760
Cataluna, Spain
Death: Aug. 24, 1823
Ventura County
California, USA

Padre Senan was born in Barcelona, Spain. At the age of 14 he was admitted to the Franciscan order and ordained 10 years later. He was sent as a missionary to Mexico City in 1784, and three later he was doing missionary work at the Mission in Carmel (Alta California). In 1787, he was assigned to the Mission San Buenaventura as an associate to Padre Vincente de Santa Maria, succeeding him upon his death. Mission San Buenaventura was still in the process of construction when Padre Senan arrived, finally being completed in 1809. Padre Senan kept a meticulous journal and wrote many letters describing the daily activities at the Mission, both of a "housekeeping" nature and in spiritual matters which included: planting; cultivating; harvesting crops; breeding and slaughtering animals; rendering tallow and lard; making soap; sheering sheep; carding hemp and wool; weaving blankets; dressing hides and otter pelts; marketing Mission produce; and keeping account books (he stated he was not very good at this). In the spiritual arena, he oversaw teaching neophytes (baptized Indians); baptising; marrying; burying; nursing the sick; chastising wrong-doers; staging festivals; preaching sermons, and saying mass. He also had to keep the peace between the soldiers and the local Indians. He worked from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week, 365 days a years for 26 years at Mission San Buenaventura. He was described as "a good workman". He enjoyed his snuff, chocolate, hard candy, almonds and other assorted treats. There were a number of challenges during his tenure, including a 7.0 magnitude earthquake and tidal surge on December 21, 1812 that created havoc, causing many at Mission San Buenaventura to flee to the surrounding hillsides for three months. The bell tower collapsed, and along with other portions of the Mission, required lengthy repairs over a two year period. In 1818, the Mission and its inhabitants were menaced by a pirate, Hippolyte de Bouchard, and hurriedly took to the hills again,this time to hide various church valuables in caves, and beneath the ground. As it turned out, the pirates, after maurading several other Alta California locations, sailed right on by San Buenaventura. By 1816, Padre Senan was slowing down, and on occasion missing early Mass; this prompted him to order an alarm clock. On August 14, 1823, in the last of Padre Senan's many letters, he describes himself as "a poor fellow" who "finds himself at the gates of eternity". On his death bed he said "my cart will soon be coming for me across the rocky waste." He died on St. Bartholomew's Day, August 25, 1823. His death coincided with the decline of the California Missions which were losing converts and were soon to be secularized in the early 1830's by Mexico. 
Mission San Buenaventura Cemetery
Ventura County
California, USA
Created by: Valarie Vine
Record added: Jul 14, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 73337928
Padre Jose Francisco de Paula Senan
Added by: Valarie Vine
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 Added: Jul. 14, 2011

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