Mission San Luis Rey
The largest of all the 21 California missions, Mission San Luis Rey is home to a community of Franciscan Friars and is open daily to the public in the Franciscan tradition of heritage and hospitality. Facilities include: a Retreat Center with day and overnight programs for spiritual renewal and multi-function meeting spaces; a Cemetery open to all people; Mission Gift Shop; Historic Church; and interpretive Museum.
“When I arrived in Southern California I was homeless. Just a year earlier I had a successful construction business, a marriage and came home every night to my beautiful daughter”, explained Ben. The truth is, I looked down on homeless people. Then, drugs and alcohol took over. I lost my business; my wife and I was estranged from my daughter. I slept in my car and cleaned up the best I could in the rest rooms on Oceanside Beaches. One day, I made my way to the Mission, met a friar and starting spending a little time each day on those peaceful grounds. The peace it brought me led me to get clean and sober. When a construction job came up at the Mission, I was encouraged to try to get hired as part of a crew. That was my new beginning. I was a good worker and eventually reapplied for my General Contractor license. I reestablish communication with my wife and visited with my daughter. Being at the Mission, the compassion and support the friars and staff showed me helped me to believe in myself again. I have a new understanding and concern for the homeless and hope to do what I can to help those without a home.”