Founded June 13, 1798 by Father Fermin Lasuen.
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is the 18th in a chain of 21 California Missions established by the Spanish Franciscans. Named after Saint Louis IX, King of France, the Mission was founded on June 13, 1798 by Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen in a fertile valley midway between Missions San Diego de Alcala and San Juan Capistrano. Father Antonio Peyri was assigned the task of administrator and served San Luis Rey for 34 years. Father Peyri supervised the construction of the Mission from the very beginning. Along with his fellow Franciscans, he taught the Native Americans about new methods of agriculture and crafts and introduced them to Christianity.
San Luis Rey de Francia, “King of Missions,” was the eighteenth of the Franciscan establishments in California; and the second founded in what is now the County of San Diego-second therefore on El Camino Real. In respect of artistry, grandeur and general prosperity it long stood preeminent. Even today the refinement and wide culture of its founder, Fr. Lasuen, and of its first superior, Fr. Antonio Peyri, seem to pervade corridor, patio, garden and churchyard. One feels that very rare souls built and by their lives forever blessed this great spiritual enterprise.