Feast or Famine Essay

Feast or Famine Essay

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The issue of abundance within the mission became one which Duran struggled with. While the friars were concerned with the issue of poverty among themselves, they were also quite cognizant of how necessary the issue of abundance was to the natives, since abundance was one of the means by which the Missionary Fathers could attract the natives to the missions. This recruitment of neophytes to the missions was vital to the survival of the missions as Duran knew. No food (abundance), no Indians, no missions. One of the ways this can be seen is in a letter Duran sent to the procurator of the College of San Fernando in 1808:
We have just received your Reverence’s letter, dated August 24, in which you inform us that the antependia , etc. which we had asked for will not come, nor will the ladles for the Indians. This last (item) we regret extremely because we prefer the Indians to what is least necessary for the church. And so the said one hundred ladles must be of first priority in the next list of supplies. Your Reverence well says that it is not possible to provide everything because of a lack of money; but from now on we are warned against asking for articles of wood because of their exorbitant cost. We will appreciate it if you do not send the side altar, the painting of the Judgment, and everything else which, it seems, they have included among the items which have risen in price because of the war—unless of course, your Reverence finds himself under obligations. We intend henceforth to lighten you work by asking only for what is of prime necessity.
The friars in the mission system of California were well aware of the need to keep the natives in and around the missions. If their neophytes were allowed to go off foraging into th...


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...ce of The Desire of a Soul. Edited by Regis J. Armstrong, O.F.M. Cap et al. Francis of Assisi: Early Documents. New York: New City Press, 2000.
Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. “Chapter Seven.” In The Major Legend of Saint Francis. Edited by Regis J. O.F.M. Cap Armstrong et al. Francis of Assisi: Early Documents. New York: New City Press, 2000.
Narciso Duran OFM. October 31 Letter to The Missionaries At San Juan Bautista. Translated by Francis Price. Mission San Jose, 1808.
Mendieta, Geronimo de, OFM. “Chapter 29.” In Historia Eclesiastica Indiana. Edited by Joaquin Garcia Icazbalcta. Volume IV. Mexico: Antigua Libreria, 1870.
Archibald, Robert. The Economic Aspects of The California Missions. Washington, D.C.: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1978. Narciso Duran OFM. February 25th Letter to Fray Jose Viñals. Translated by Francis Price. Mission San Jose, 1809.

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