I became fascinated by the sans or saints in the LA area and quickly found 10 communities named after them. Adding up their populations, the total came to 2,338,6679; so there are this many people living in the LA area in towns named after saints. At least 3 of them were named for the now-not-PC California missions that were established to help convert natives to Catholicism. The most famous of them was San Juan Capistrano.
The city of San Bernardino is home to more than 200,000 Californians and the very 1st McDonalds. Ruth & I went to see it and the museum about it a couple of years ago. This city was named for Saint Bernardino of Siena. He was born into a noble family and became an Italian priest and Franciscan missionary who was an orphan by the age of 6. As a priest he preached against magic, gambling, and witchcraft, which is probably why he was sainted.
Santa Monica, CA was named for the mother of Saint Augustine. St. Monica cried a lot hoping for her son’s conversion, which finally happened after 17 years of tearful prayer. She became the patron saint of mothers and wives and the name of a California community that is home to about 90,000 and near Malibu.
The San Fernando Valley is north of LA and home to more than 1,500,000 people. It was named for a Spanish King of Castile. Saint Ferdinand was the name of one of the 21 constructed California missions. San Fernando Rey was the son of King Alfonso IX.
San Gabriel, CA was named after an Archangel who was no ordinary angel. He’s the one who the bible says appeared to Jesus’ mother Mary to announce the news that she was pregnant with him. The San Gabriel Mission was the 4th one established.
Santa Ana. CA was named for Saint Anne, Mary’s mother. The 2nd most populous city in the LA area, Santa Ana is in Orange County, the home of Disneyland. More than 324,000 people live here.
San Dimas became the name of a canyon is the San Gabriel Mountains and a town. The saint it is named for is Saint Dismas. Ruth’s Aunt Marvel and Uncle Lloyd, the brother of her father, and their daughter Sylvia, Ruth’s cousin, lived in San Dimas; and we visited them fairly often when we were first married. This was after San Dimas’ name changed from Mud Springs. Saint Dismas was nicknamed the good thief. He was one of the 2 men crucified with Jesus Christ. As a result of this, he became the patron saint of those who are condemned to death.
San Juan Capistrano was the most famous California mission because of the returning Cliff Swallows, birds that showed up on the same day each year. St. John of Capistrano was an Italian saint born in 1386. After attending law school, he became a governor and serious traveler.
San Clemente became famous after a disgraced President named Nixon retired here. St. Clement was a very early Pope, only the 3rd after St. Peter, historically one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. The town became known early on as “the Spanish village by the sea” before it became an affluent 20th century community. Saint Clement had an unfortunate death. He was executed by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea, but because of this he became the patron saint of mariners.
San Antonio Heights and Santa Susana are the 2 smallest sainted towns in the LA area.