Just this year he survived an attempt by some California legislators to remove his statue from the U.S. Capitol. Miquel Joseph Serra was born on the Spanish island of Majorca in 1713. Junípero Serra's road to sainthood is controversial for Native Americans. Serra, who came to California nearly 250 years ago, is the first saint to be canonized on U.S. soil. Sep 15, 2015 Russell Brown. By Michele Jurich. This letter is written by Serra's own hand and is kept in a climated-controlled vault at Old Mission Santa Barbara. These migrant missionaries were serious colonizers in their own right even though their motives were not wealth or power or freedom of religious expression. For his defenders, Padre Serra was an intrepid evangelist and a model of Gospel living, while for his detractors, he was a shameless advocate of an oppressive colonial system that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Indians. He is also an OAH Distinguished Lecturer. Success! Today is the most important day of the Pope’s visit for me, and for Latino Catholics across the #USA and throughout the Americas. They accuse in the 18th century Franciscan missionary … It is the first canonization on U.S. soil. He became a Franciscan priest in 1730 and took the name Junipero, after a … Serra believed he was a more moderate version of the missionaries he saw in Mexico. As a biographer of Serra, I am often asked to explain the seeming incongruity between Pope Francis’s progressive social views and his desire to canonize a man whose work among Indians contained the very excesses for which the Pope has recently apologized. Born and raised in California, Steven W. Hackel is a professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. The Vatican has argued that Serra was "a man of his time" and should not be judged by modern standards. 5 years ago. In June 2015, after examining an updated “Positio” of 1000 pages that included new materials for Serra’s cause, the Cardinals in Rome voted to elevate Blessed Junipero Serra to sainthood. Those who wonder about this canonization and the proper place of founding fathers like Junípero Serra in American history should know that Serra rarely lost a fight, even when he faced enormous challenges. The canonization of Junipero Serra has drawn strong protest from many Native Americans. PHOTO: VIDEO: Support for canonization of Junipero Serra divided among Native Americans But Father Serra's salvation came with consequences. The Catholic Church says that Serra worked miracles. Junipero Serra, like many religious people, genuinely believed he knew the path to salvation and eternal life—and that was something he dedicated much of his adult life to sharing with Californians. Even many who typically back Pope Francis see this canonization as a rare faux pas for the Argentine Pontiff. By 1833 when the missions in California were secularized, 80,000 Indians had been baptized, but 60,000 had been buried, 25,000 of whom were children under the age of ten. Those few who have been remembered—the Franciscan Junípero Serra, the Jesuit Eusebio Kino, and a handful of others—have often been more the subjects of myth than history, The seeds of Hispanic culture and Catholic religion that they planted across America from Florida and then west to Texas, into New Mexico, Arizona, and California have been dismissed as insignificant, quaint, or even backward. Two years later in Santa Barbara, another Serra monument at the city's mission was also decapitated and covered with red paint. As Sainthood Awaits, Fight Over Junipero Serrra's Legacy Continues Sept. 21, 2015 01:49. He is the editor of a volume of essays, Alta California: People in Motion, Identities in Formation (2010); the general editor of the Huntington Library’s Early California Population Project, a database of the baptism, marriage, and burial records from all of California’s twenty-one missions; and the director of the Early California Cultural Atlas, a spatial history of colonial California funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. On Wednesday, Pope Francis canonized Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Spanish missionary who introduced—or imposed—Catholicism among Native American communities in California. “He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, learning and valuing their particular customs and ways of life.”, The Pope praised Serra’s treatment of Native Americans, saying that he “sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it.”, “Mistreatment and wrongs which today still trouble us,” Francis continued, “especially because of the hurt which they cause in the lives of many people.”. Following is the text of the English translation of Pope Francis canonizing the Rev. Serra canonization. Soon Pope Francis will confer upon him a far greater honor, making him the first Hispanic saint from the territory of what is now the United States. Part I Read More » His supporters argue he defended the indigenous population against the excesses of colonialism. Following is the text of the English translation of Pope Francis canonizing the Rev. Galvan was active in the support of Serra’s cause for canonization beginning in 1978, when he met Serra biographer and Franciscan friar Fr. #PopeinUS. But debates about Serra’s Indian policy miss a fundamental message that the Pope intends to deliver through Serra’s canonization: our nation’s current wave of anti-immigration rhetoric flies in the face of America’s deep Hispanic and Catholic roots, and sadly it draws on a rich vein of anti-Catholicism in American history. Tagged: California missions, colonization, human rights, Junipero serra canonization, racism, Spanish Inquisition, vatican police. Thus they hope to shape contemporary immigration policy by a deeper reading of American history. Fifty different tribes in California condemned the sainthood conferred on Serra, said Deborah Miranda, a literature professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and a member of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation of California. Twenty years later, at the age of fifty-six, Serra played a crucial role in the settlement and colonization of California, most notably as the founding father of the chain of Catholic missions that eventually extended from San Diego to just north of San Francisco. Ahead of the Mass on Wednesday, thousands lined up for hours in nightmarish lines snaking around parts of the Catholic University of America campus. “We believe saints are supposed to be people who followed in the life of Jesus Christ and the words of Jesus Christ. It is also a reminder to our nation’s Nativists that Catholics and Hispanics have a long claim to American soil and its history. Pitted against the founders of Protestant New England and the signers of the Declaration of Independence, these Hispanic Catholics stood little chance. Father Junipero Serra to be elevated to sainthood, Pope Francis says A statue of Junipero Serra in the graveyard at Mission San Francisco de Asis, often called Mission Dolores. Homily, Mass and Canonization of Fr. All Rights Reserved. Miquel Joseph Serra was born on the Spanish island of Majorca in 1713. Junípero Serra. They left a lasting mark on American history and they will continue to shape its future. Pope Francis. The goings-on in the streets of America and beyond has been an education for white people, especially to wake up to the reality of 500 years of racism and colonialism in America. Junipero Serra's Canonization and the Historical Record 1255 on the part of some Fathers and that we are all exposed to err in that regard. Against all odds—when he was old and in poor health from fatigue and a chronically ulcerous leg, with the Spanish military in California turned against him—Serra persevered to found more missions. Serra often corresponded about the California missions as he evangelized Native Americans in the late 1700s. Serra is far from the first controversial candidate for sainthood or canonization. “Junipero Serra left his native land and its way of life,” Francis said in his homily during the canonization Mass at Catholic University in Washington. Pope Francis has said that he fast-tracked Serra's canonization by eliminating the need to show proof of two miracles because the missionary was such a great evangelizer. Pope Francis then issued the official decree announcing the canonization. Updated “But I don’t think Pope Francis wants pristine saints,” Kesicki continued, “because then no one will aspire to sainthood.”. Pope Francis on Wednesday canonized Junipero Serra, a Spanish missionary, a moment of deep pride for Latinos but a source of controversy for many Native Americans. Pope Francis will preside Wednesday over a mass of canonization for Junipero Serra, the man known for establishing missions throughout California. Rambusch was honored by the National Shrine’s commission to commemorate this historic event with a canonization banner. The missions ended up killing about 90% of the California Indians present at the time of missionization, creating all kinds of cultural and emotional baggage that we still carry to this day,” Miranda said. In Serra’s defense, Governor Jerry Brown stated that “The Pope is right in recognizing his sanctity.”. “Junipero Serra left his native land and its way of life,” Francis said in his homily during the canonization Mass at Catholic University in Washington. It’s about making sure that the truth is heard and that injustices are not continued on into the 21st century.”. The Rev. There was no Jesus Christ lifestyle at the missions,” Lopez said, who has campaigned against sainthood for Serra. The Canonization of JuN Ípero SerrA November 24, 1713 – August 28,1784 1784 - Junípero Serra’s Death ... Junipero Serra’s missionary headquarters J unípero was a bright student and began his priestly career as a professor of philosophy at the Lullian University at Palma. “It’s not a question of attacking the Catholic Church or attacking Pope Francis. It is in honor of them, and future generations of Latinos, that the Pope is canonizing Serra against the wishes of those who rightly claim that Serra’s missions adversely affected California’s indigenous peoples. Medina is an Ohlone Indian who is opposed to the Pope's recent decision to grant sainthood to Father Junipero Serra, the founder of the California missions. A Saint With A Mixed History: Junipero Serra's Canonization Raises Eyebrows : The Two-Way Pope Francis announced he will elevate the influential missionary to sainthood … Wednesday was the Pope’s first full day in the United States, a trip that will also take him to New York and Philadelphia. The Pope has planned to meet with Native Americans in Washington after the Mass, a Vatican official told CNN’s Delia Gallagher. Success! (Credit: CNN) This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Pope Francis presides over a canonization mass for Friar Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on Wednesday. Blessed Serra was thus deemed to have already met the sainthood criteria. Apostolic Journey of the Holy Father to Cuba, to the United States of America and Visit to the United Nations Headquarters on the occasion of his participation at the Eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia: Holy Mass and Canonization of Blessed Fr. Pope Francis has established a reputation as advocate for the oppressed, but the canonization of Junipero Serra represents the celebration of Indigenous genocide, at the hands of the Church. Fr. The queues stretched to security checkpoints where those holding the 25,000 tickets distributed for the ceremony. Verification email has been resent. Back to Top. It is their hope that Americans, when reminded of the Hispanic origins of much of this country, will reject the notion that Latino immigrants are somehow trespassers, even criminals, and embrace a more humane treatment of today’s immigrants. 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