Audio Tours

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Narration

NARRATOR:
St. Anthony, seen here holding the baby Jesus, is the patron saint of lost things. Around his waist he wears a cord hung with 35 delicate silver charms, called milagros or miracles. Each shape, given by an individual, references a prayer still in need of an answer or as gratitude for one already granted.

In 1801 this five-foot-tall statue arrived at Mission San Juan Capistrano from Mexico. For decades the faithful came to St. Anthony to pray. Then, in the 1850s, a devastating drought took hold of Southern California. When the Mission at San Juan Capistrano was at its most parched, a man named Bernardo Yorba came to its rescue. A member of the prominent Yorba family, he delivered cattle and spring water to the dying Mission. In gratitude the padres gave him this statue. For generations, it passed down through his family, eventually ending up with his great-granddaughter, Rosita Yorba Locke.

In the late 1930s the Bowers' first curator, Bessie Coulter, repeatedly asked Mrs. Locke to donate the statue to the museum. She steadfastly and flatly refused, but finally, almost 20 years later, Mrs. Locke changed her mind.

Nearby, you'll find portrait of Bernardo Yorba along with a case filled with personal items that belonged to his family

Step12-Sculpture of St. Anthony of Padua, c. 1800


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