Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ramona Epic #6: Father Salvierderra Leaves the Rancho

Father Salvierderra is important as a kind fatherly figure to Ramona and the rest at the ranch, but also as the religious authority. He is about eighty in the story, and he travels by foot to the rancho from the mission in Santa Barbara. At the rancho he has his own room where he stays and performs his priestly duties. He is held in high regard by all the characters in the story. From the book, when Ramona first sees him coming to the rancho:

"Ay, Ramona, I am tired," he replied. "Old age is conquering me. It
will not be many times more that I shall see this place."

"Oh, do not say that, Father," cried Ramona; "you can ride, when it
tires you too much to walk. The Senora said, only the other day,
that she wished you would let her give you a horse; that it was not
right for you to take these long journeys on foot. You know we
have hundreds of horses. It is nothing, one horse," she added,
seeing the Father slowly shake his head.

"No;" he said, "it is not that. I could not refuse anything at the
hands of the Senora. But it was the rule of our order to go on foot.
We must deny the flesh. Look at our beloved master in this land,
Father Junipero, when he was past eighty, walking from San Diego
to Monterey, and all the while a running ulcer in one of his legs,
for which most men would have taken to a bed, to be healed. It is a
sinful fashion that is coming in, for monks to take their ease doing
God's work. I can no longer walk swiftly, but I must walk all the
more diligently."

While he eventually leaves the rancho and is no longer an active character in the story, his influence is still felt as various characters refer to him and what they think he would say about their situations.

In the play he gives a few final blessings and leaves. It is the final time we see him in the play. The video gives you an idea of how natural surroundings are used as part of the peformance:

Father Salvierderra Leaves the Rancho (Vimeo Version)

There are two historic ranchos that many think Helen Hunt Jackson based her story around. When I come back to this in a few weeks I will show you one of them.