An old mission
located in San Juan, California
that is home to what is arguably the world's most famous group of swallows
Hundreds of years ago, a group of cliff swallows adopted the mission as its home after a nearby innkeeper destroyed their nests. The mission is a virtual paradise for swallows because it is located between two bodies of water, abundant with their main prey: insects. Every year, like clockwork, the swallows leave the mission on the Day of San Juan (October 23). They migrate to Argentina, only to return on the Day of the Feast of Saint Joseph (19 March), to the celebration of church bells.
The birds are often referenced in literature and other mediums as refugee-like creatures seeking sanctuary with the phrase, "like a swallow to Capistrano". The legend behind the birds is built around the fact that they are seeking refuge within the solid walls of the mission. A fine parable for our time.