The Making of a State

On March 27, 1776, Father Fuster entered the temporary chapel at the presidio of San Diego and began preparing for Mass. A little reliquary holding some bone chips of Saint Didacus rattled against his chest as he moved, bequeathed to him by Father Jayme whose death was still horrifically fresh in his mind.

Working his way to the sacristy he was surprised by a human shape concealed in the shadows. His knees buckled and he reached out to brace himself on the altar but the altar cloth slipped off and he frantically reeled it through his hands as he landed hard on his back.

The figure slowly rose from his hiding place and revealed himself, a young naked man with long, filthy black hair. He was bone-thin and his eyes were sunken into the hollows almost to the point of disappearing.

“Carlos,” the priest gasped.

“I’m tired of running, Father. I turn myself in to you.”

“...But are you sorry, Carlos?”

Carlos had been on the run for five months since he’d led the revolt of some 600 Kumeyaay Indian warriors that looted and burned the Mission San Diego de Alcala in the Spanish colony of California. Miraculously, only two of the eleven people present died in the attack, one of them a Franciscan friar: Father Luis Jayme. At the time of the incident, there were only 170 Spanish soldiers in all of California. If the settlement had fallen, it was possible that the entire colony would have been abandoned.

Another smaller event also occurred which put a close to the incident. Father Fuster not only forgave Carlos and offered him sanctuary in the church but obtained pardon from the Governor for all involved; likely a vital reason San Diego became the nexus for all that California would later become.

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