32 ½” x 9″ x 10 ¼”
Limited Edition of 9 Bronze

Let Curt Tell You About It!

There are many untold stories about the opening of the West. Many of those stories took place before the era that we often consider the Westward Expansion. The story of Friar Fansico Garces is one of those. At the age of 25 Garces sailed from Cardez, Spain to what was to become New Spain (Mexico). He was well trained in the Franciscan tradition and was a man who had a love of people and peace. He would eventually join an expedition to find an overland route from the Gorda highlands of Mexico to the coast of California. In the years 1775-76, he was a part of the DeAnza expedition to locate this overland route. Garces was a man who lived without fear. He had a good nature and was well suited for such an adventure. The expedition included two other friars, Pedro Font and Juan Crespi. These men were devoted to carrying the message of the Gospel to the people of this uncharted country, to minister to the soldiers and to other people on the expedition.  They also had the responsibility to document the adventure. He traveled all the way to the Monterey Peninsula in California with DeAnza.

When he saw the terrible living condition these Indians lived under, his heart was to help. One of Garces strength’s was that he was never afraid to go out on any adventure to reach these people and tell them of Christ. He often traveled out into an unknown desert until he found one of the tribes. He befriended them, brought them gifts and learned their language. One of the most amazing things he did was to broker peace agreements between the tribes. These agreements stopped the killing and resulted in living side by side peacefully.

With wars constantly raging in the desert, many of the Indian guides who were a part of the expedition would only go so far into the desert with Garces. They stopped and did not go further. Garces was not deterred by this and struck out on his own. Garces walked out into the desert, trusting the Lord to take him where He wanted him to be. This is what I am focusing on in this piece.

You can see that Garces has tied to his waist a water olla that allowed him to travel a bit of a distance before he needed to refill. The stick he carried had some food for his survival and small gifts, to help him befriend the Indians. His love and outgoing nature made him a natural for those around him to be comfortable.

He dressed in the typical Franciscan wool robe. You can imagine how hot it must have been! Through it all, Garces never gave up on his mission and calling from God. The Indians he met were in desperate need and he was sent to show them a better way. He was killed during an uprising known as the Yuma Revolt in 1781 at the age of 43. Garces lived a life devoted to God and to be His “Messenger of Hope”.