Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/José Francisco de Paula Señan

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 13
José Francisco de Paula Señan

by Zephyrin Engelhardt


Born at Barcelona, Spain, 3 March, 1760; died at Mission San Buenaventura on 24 Aug., 1823; entered the Franciscan Order in 1774. In 1784 he was incorporated in the missionary college of San Fernando in the City of Mexico, and im 1787 sent to California. He was there assigned to the Mission of San Carlos and remained until 1795, when he retired to Mexico and reported the missionary conditions in the territory to the viceroy. In 1798 he returned to California, and was stationed at Mission San Buenaventura until his death. From July, 1812, till the end of 1815 Señan held the office of presidente of the missions. In October, 1819, he was reappointed and continued in office until he died. As presidente he was also vicar forane to the Bishop of Sonora for Upper California. A month before his death he moreover received the appointment of vice-commissary prefect. Señan was familiar with the language of the Indians, and his reports and mission entries are distinguished by their exactness and beauty of penmanship. Though a very zealous missionary, Señan loved a retired life. He disliked to hold office or give orders; for this reason he was sometimes nicknamed Padre Calma. The commissary-general of the Indies directed him to write a history of the missions, and Señan in 1819 promised to comply; but he left no papers on the subject. His remains were interred in the church of San Buenaventura Mission.

Santa Barbara Archives; Mission Records of San Buenaventura; ENGELHARDT, The Franciscans in California (Harbor Springs, Mich, 1897); BANCROFT, California, II (San Francisco, 1886); Missions and Missionaries of California, II (San Francisco, 1912).

Zephyrin Engelhardt.