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The Great Stone Church will never be brought back to where it once proudly stood within California’s Mission San Juan Capitistrano. On the feast day of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, December 8, 1812, an earthquake struck the sanctuary as two boys rang the church bells, calling worshipers to that day’s second mass. The churchgoers within the church from the first service screamed as the walls around them swayed and the dome at the rear of the church cracked open. Thirty-eight adult Native Americans died along with the two boys in the bell tower.
Following failed attempts in the 1860’s to restore the church, resulting in further damage, the remains were secured. Today the ruins of The Great Stone Church still stand like beautiful historical abstract sculptures. They continue to attract artists, historians, and tourists from around the world.
Also by Deborah Downes
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