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La Cristianita Monument Moves to Casa Romantica

A local artist is donating thousands to facilitate the move of a local marker, honoring the region's first baptism of Native Americans.

The monument commemorating the first Southern California Native American children baptized by Spanish Catholic missionaries will move from the parking lot of the Civic Center to a more traveled San Clemente landmark.

San Clemente City Council Tuesday voted to move the marker to historical Casa Romantica. A donation of several thousand dollars is coming from local artist, Dr. Giovanni Cirocco, to help move and reinstall the monument, said Community Development Director Jim Holloway.

The historical marker will still be a few miles away from the actual spot where the Spaniards baptized two sick Native American babies. That spot now lies within Camp Pendleton and requires guides from the Marine base's Camp Pendleton Historical Society to go see.

According to the OC Almanac, The first Christian baptism in Southern California happened in Cristianitos Canyon when Father Francisco Gomez, accompanying the first Portola expedition, convinced the mother of two sick and dying little girls to allow the monks to baptize them on July 22, 1769.

At the meeting, Rebecca Robles of Acjachemen descent (the native tribe in the area), voiced concern that the marker wouldn't be at the actual historical site.

Council members pointed out that one needed special permission to go on base, and the monument would act as a wayfinding sign. Council members added to the motion a requirement that information for visiting the Camp Pendleton site be posted alongside the new monument location.

Ruth DeNault November 29, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Bertha Henry Taylor, "Mother of the Pageant La Christianita", is very happy to know the monument will be relocated to Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens. This has been her wish and dream. Bertha will be celebrating her 101st birthday this week at San Clemente Hospital. Thank you, Dr. Giovanni Cirocco, for your kind and generous gift to relocate the monument plaques on a large boulder at Casa Romantica along a woodland trail used by Native Americans to access the beach. Ruth DeNault, Founding Board Member Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens

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