Franciscans – St. Frances – vegetarian and peacemaker.
Carmelites – teachers, vegetarians and peacemakers
Spiritual origin of the Order
The Carmelite Order is one of the few, if not the only, monastic order not to refer to a charismatic founder, but to a prophet of the Old Testament: Elijah and his disciple Elisha are considered by the Carmelites as the spiritual fathers of the order. Tradition indicates the presence on Mount Carmel of a series of Jewish and then Christian hermits who lived, prayed and taught in these caves used by Elijah and Elisha. These caves of Mount Carmel have nevertheless, archaeological data attest, served as a place of habitat and worship in many eras, without guaranteeing historical continuity, especially in a specific cult. This is how the first Christian hermits (at the origin of the founding of the order), settled in the caves of Mount Carmel to pray to God. The first chapel built within the hermitages and bringing together this community is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Very quickly, the spirituality of the order turned to Mary who became the queen and mistress of Carmel.
Father Juan Crespí (March 1, 1721—January 1, 1782) was a Spanish missionary and explorer of Las Californias. He entered the Franciscan order at the age of seventeen. He came to America in 1749, and accompanied explorers Francisco Palóu and Junípero Serra. In 1767 he went to the Baja Peninsula and was placed in charge of the Misión La Purísima Concepción de Cadegomó. In 1769 he joined the expedition of Gaspar de Portolà to occupy San Diego and Monterey; he authored the first written account of actual interaction between Franciscan friars and the indigenous population after his expedition traveled through the region known today as Orange County on July 22 of that year. The following year he founded the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, in the present-day Carmel, which became his headquarters. He was chaplain of the expedition to the North Pacific conducted by Juan José Pérez Hernández in 1774. His diaries, first published in H. E. Bolton’s Fray Juan Crespi (1927, repr. 1971), and published in the original Spanish with facing page translations as A Description of Distant Roads: Original Journals of the First Expedition into California, 1796-1770 (2001) provided valuable records of these expeditions. One chapel he built, at the Misión San Francisco del Valle de Tilaco in Landa, is reported as still standing.
Crespí entered the Franciscan order at the age of seventeen. He came to New Spain in 1749, and accompanied explorers Francisco Palóu and Junípero Serra. In 1767 he went to the Baja California Peninsula and was placed in charge of the Misión La Purísima Concepción de Cadegomó.
In 1769, Crespí joined the expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá and Junípero Serra (see Timeline of the Portolá expedition). He traveled in the vanguard of the land expedition to San Diego, led by Captain Fernando Rivera y Moncada, where a presidio and mission were established. Crespí then continued north with Portolá and Rivera to identify the port of Monterey. Because he was the only one of the Franciscans to make the entire journey by land, Crespí became the first official diarist for the missions. He was one of three diarists to document the first exploration by Europeans of interior areas of Alta California.
After reaching Monterey in October 1769, Crespí continued with the expedition that explored as far north as present-day San Francisco, and became one of the first Europeans to see San Francisco Bay. All told, the expedition traveled in the future state of California through the present-day coastal counties of San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and San Francisco.