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Narcisco Duran

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Born 16 December, 1776, at Castellon de Ampurias, Catalonia, Spain ; died 1 June, 1846. He entered the Franciscan Order at Gerona, 3 May 1792, volunteered for the Indian Missions, was incorporated into the Franciscan Missionary College of San Fernando in the City of Mexico, and in 1806 came to California. He was assigned to Mission San José and toiled there among the Indians until April, 1833, when he retired to Mission Santa Barbara. As early as 1817 Father Sarriá, the comisario prefecto , recommended Duran for higher offices. Father Payeras, the comisario prefecto in 1820, likewise held him worthy and capable of any office. Towards the end of 1824 the College of San Fernando elected him presidente of the missions, which post held with the exception of one term (1828-1831) until 1838. From 1844 till his death in 1846 he again held this office, and from 1837 to 1843 he was also comisario prefecto of the Fernandinos, i.e. Franciscans subject to the college in Mexico, who were in charge of the missions in Southern California. During the troublous times of the secularization and sale of the missions it was Father Duran who fought the pillagers step by step, though in vain, and fearlessly unmasked the real aims of the despoilers. His numerous letters to the Government on the subject are masterpieces of close reasoning, pungent sargueroa recommended the exile of Father, Duran, but the Mexican Government allowed him to remain unmolested at Mission Santa Barbara until his death. Six weeks previous to this the dying Bishop of California had appointed Father Duran vicar-general, and for a month he held the office of administrator of the diocese. His body was placed in the vault beneath the sanctuary of the mission church. He was almost the last survivor of the Fernandinos, and for virtue, learning, and missionary zeal ranks with the most brilliant of his predecessors.

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