My Texas History Notebook
Life in a Spanish Mission
Life in a Spanish Mission enables students to experience life in a Spanish Mission as a Native American. The student will learn Spain's reasons for establishing Catholic missions and the impact of the missions on the culture of Native Americans.
This Experiential Exercise is designed to help students imagine and understand the structured lifestyle of Catholic missionaries and Native Americans living in Spanish missions in early Texas. The activity begins as students take “vows” of poverty, obedience and silence. Students then go to each of the seven stations―Spanish translation, dormitory, workhouse, agriculture, chancel, kitchen duties, and reflection―where they experience key aspects of the missionary lifestyle in silence. The activity ends with a discussion in which students share insights gained from the exercise and relate the experience to historical reality.
For processing, students will write a one-page journal entry explaining their day in a life of a Spanish mission in Texas. Students should incorporate descriptions of at least three of the stations in their entry. Students will also create an annotated map of their own Spanish mission. The mission should include at least five stations, and each station should have a two-sentence explanation of it and the required task.