Informative history on Fermín Francisco de Lasuén, the second Father-President of the California Missions.
REVIEW OF FERMIN FRANCISCO DE LASUEN : AN ILLUSTRATED TIMELINE BY DAVID J. MCLAUGHLIN
Fermín Francisco de Lasuén: The Second Father-President of the California Missions. By David J. McLaughlin. Pentacle Press, 2012. 8 pp., illustrations, photographs. $7.95 paper.
By Robert L. Hoover, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
As increasing dependence on electronic media slowly reduces our society to a condition of semi-literacy, scholars and museum curators seem reluctant to challenge the mind with factual textual history, instead confining themselves to capturing the public's attention and making them feel good about each other. David McLaughlin's illustrated timeline is a refreshing departure from that mode. The work is packed with information on the life achievements of California's second Franciscan Father-President (1785-1803). This period saw the maturation of the mission establishments, which nearly reached their peak of converts at this time. Beginning with Lasuén's birth in Basque country and his entrance into the Franciscan order at the age of fourteen, the timeline follows his vocation until his death.
Arranged as an attractive folding timeline, McLaughlin's booklet covers in several pages the information of many much thicker tomes. The work is lavishly illustrated throughout with colored pictures and is capped by a summary of Lasuén's life achievements. The publication captures the interest of the reader while providing information in a concentrated format. Even the most jaded e-book addict will find this work attractive.
During the upcoming Serra Tricentennial in 2013, we should never forget that a great many Franciscans stationed in Alta California had exceptional talents and personality traits. Someone in the College of San Fernando was making some very good personnel decisions! One only hopes that McLaughlin continues his series of timelines to include such personalities as Father-President Mariano Payeras of Mission La Purisima, who as a master administrator attempted to bring the Industrial Age to Alta California; Father Antonio Ripoll of Mission Santa Barbara, friend and protector of the Chumash during a time of trials; or Father Juan Sancho of Mission San Antonio, the "Mozart of California". Mc Laughlin's skill in organization and design need only be limited by the truly remarkable grayfriars of Alta California.
--California Mission Studies Association