A week after the canonization, a statue of Serra in Monterey was decapitated. Serra is far from the first controversial candidate for sainthood or canonization. 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. Yes, those who criticize Serra’s treatment of Indians are right to do so. It is the first canonization on U.S. soil. Verification email has been resent. In these important ways missionaries like Serra shaped American history and left complicated legacies of Spain and Catholicism wherever they ventured. When Pope Francis announced that he was going to declare sainthood for Junipero Serra during a flight to Manila in January 2015, some people took it as an impromptu decision. His book was first published in Mexico in 1787. Blessed Serra was thus deemed to have already met the sainthood criteria. Rambusch was honored by the National Shrine’s commission to commemorate this historic event with a canonization banner. Serra brought Catholicism to California in the second half of the 18th Century. Pope Francis called Father Junipero Serra a defender of “the dignity of the native community,” as the first pope from the Americas canonized … For that accomplishment and others related to it, Serra was given an exalted place in the nation’s capital as one of two Californians represented in Statuary Hall (the other is Ronald Reagan). By Michele Jurich. 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. When it came to Junipero Serra… 4 Comments. In California, the establishment of twenty-one missions (nine by Serra) had disastrous results for Indians. #PopeinUS. “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. He became a Franciscan priest in 1730 and took the name Junipero, after a … 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. We do not exist, it seems, in Pope Francis’ world,” Miranda said. A Warner Media Company. Even many who typically back Pope Francis see this canonization as a rare faux pas for the Argentine Pontiff. This is Serra's personal "novena" prayer book, which is kept in the archives of Old Mission Santa Barbara. And across the missions, Franciscans like Serra endorsed the corporal punishment of Indians who did not abide by their wishes or policies. Noel Francis Moholy (1916-98) at Mission San Jose. While many leading American politicians are calling for a wall between the United States and Mexico, the deportation of millions of workers and their families, and the end of birthright citizenship, this pope and his advisors intend to confront those proposals by casting Serra, in effect, as the patron saint of immigration. It represented Father Junípero Serra (1713–1784), the Mallorcan Franciscan who gave up a successful career as a priest and university professor in Spain in 1749 and sailed to Mexico to begin his life there as a missionary to Indians. Yet to the great disappointment of men such as Pope Francis, Archbishop Gomez, and Guzmán Carriquiri, the vice president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, nearly all of the thousands of Catholic missionaries who came to America have been forgotten, losers not in the contest for North America but in the subsequent battle for a place in American history. “We believe saints are supposed to be people who followed in the life of Jesus Christ and the words of Jesus Christ. To complete your CNN profile and ensure you are able to receive important account information, please verify your email address. Transcript for Why Pope Francis' Canonization of Junipero Serra Is Controversial The ceremonial ringing of the bells a mission San Juan Capistrano marking another day in … “It’s not a question of attacking the Catholic Church or attacking Pope Francis. 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. Why Junipero Serra Matters Today. 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 when he … “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.”. Pope Francis then issued the official decree announcing the canonization. At the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., 23 September 2015, the Holy Father delivered the following homily. Serra, in his view, was part of a colonial enterprise whose goal was the complete subjugation of California’s native peoples. Pope Francis named Junipero Serra a saint in 2015 over the loud protests of Native Americans. 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. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) “We’re stunned and we’re in disbelief,” said Valentin Lopez, 63, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band located along Monterey Bay in California. I say it again, … Pope Francis. Serra’s life tells us that American history from its beginnings was diverse and multiethnic and that our national creation story is not just one of thirteen English colonies united in 1776 but that it extends far deeper into our past and includes Spanish missionaries and the Native Americans they encountered. As Sainthood Awaits, Fight Over Junipero Serrra's Legacy Continues Sept. 21, 2015 01:49. On Wednesday, Pope Francis canonized Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Spanish missionary who introduced—or imposed—Catholicism among Native American communities in California. Predictably, on the eve of his canonization, interest in Serra’s life runs hot, with some hailing his saintly life and others condemning his religious imperialism. 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. He is the author of the award-winning books, Junípero Serra: California’s Founding Father (2013) and Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis: Indian-Spanish Relations in Colonial California, 1769-1850 (2005). Wednesday was the Pope’s first full day in the United States, a trip that will also take him to New York and Philadelphia. 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. “We have gotten zero response from the Vatican, not a word. Today is the most important day of the Pope’s visit for me, and for Latino Catholics across the #USA and throughout the Americas. Junípero Serra: California’s Founding Father, The Histories of Epidemics in the United States, Black Women, Police Violence, and Gentrification, George Floyd and the End of American Hegemony, The Troubled History of American Education after the Brown Decision, Televising the Revolution: Turn’s Peggy Shippen Arnold, Sleeping Soldiers and the War for the Mind, The 1952 Olympic Games, the US, and the USSR, Naked: A Cultural History of American Nudism, The (African) American Missionary Movement in Africa in the Early Twentieth Century, Why the Portuguese Restoration of 1640 Matters to the History of American Slavery. Following is the text of the English translation of Pope Francis canonizing the Rev. “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. As told by the Pope, Archbishop Gomez, and Dr. Carriquiri, Serra’s story—sailing across the Atlantic, venturing deep into Mexico on foot, journeying far north to California—is not just a life of Catholic heroism. Galvan was active in the support of Serra’s cause for canonization beginning in 1978, when he met Serra biographer and Franciscan friar Fr. 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. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, though, called the canonization of Serra “the most important dimension of the Pope’s visit” to the United States, which lasts through Sunday. Success! America is a land of immigrants, and among the first and most important were missionaries like Serra. Pope Francis is scheduled to bestow sainthood on California missionary Junipero Serra, the father of the state's missions. Password reset email has been resent. © 2020 Cable News Network. “They’re interested in his record and in how many people he managed to convert and in the fact that he at this point in time is a famous Spanish person when the church really needs some positive PR, so they are purposely overlooking the deaths and the cultural genocide of Native American people because it’s to their benefit.”. The queues stretched to security checkpoints where those holding the 25,000 tickets distributed for the ceremony. All Rights Reserved. The ill effects are evident today in the words of bigots, racists, and political opportunists who seek to safeguard an imaginary Anglo-Protestant America from an exaggerated Latino immigrant threat. Born and raised in California, Steven W. Hackel is a professor of history at the University of California, Riverside. The St. Junípero Serra Canonization Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception made history by being the first to take place in the United States. These migrant missionaries were serious colonizers in their own right even though their motives were not wealth or power or freedom of religious expression. Sep 15, 2015 Russell Brown. (Credit: CNN) This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. thaths/Flickr Junipero Serra founded the California mission system that converted and killed so many Native Americans. 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. Few images exist of 18th-century Spanish missionary Junipero Serra, a founding figure of the American West. Serra often corresponded about the California missions as he evangelized Native Americans in the late 1700s. Thus they hope to shape contemporary immigration policy by a deeper reading of American history. As Sainthood Awaits, Fight Over Junipero Serrra's Legacy Continues Sept. 21, 2015 01:49. In 1931 a larger-than-life statue of a man who stood only a bit taller than five feet was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol. Miquel Joseph Serra was born on the Spanish island of Majorca in 1713. In California, protesters have toppled statues of Junipero Serra, whose missions brutalized Native Americans. But the missionaries and the Indians who lived in the missions also created the communities, towns, roads, and industries that were formative in the early years of California even after it joined the Union in 1850. Serra believed he was a more moderate version of the missionaries he saw in Mexico. 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. Junípero Serra. This is not a coincidence,” Gomez said at a news conference last month. This is how Father Serra signed his name on a letter about the value of prayer to another Franciscan friar, Fermin Francisco de Lasuen. There was no Jesus Christ lifestyle at the missions,” Lopez said, who has campaigned against sainthood for Serra. A statue of Blessed Junipero Serra is seen in 2012 outside Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Pope Francis will … Serra, who came to California nearly 250 years ago, is the first saint to be canonized on U.S. soil. The Catholic Church says that Serra worked miracles. The Vatican has argued that Serra was "a man of his time" and should not be judged by modern standards. Pope Francis speaks at the canonization of Junipero Serra on Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis will preside Wednesday over a mass of canonization for Junipero Serra, the man known for establishing missions throughout California. Updated Pope Courts Controversy With Canonization of Junipero Serra. The announcement that Pope Francis would canonize Blessed Junipero Serra during his visit to the United States in September took American Catholics by complete surprise. Father Junipero Serra, the 18th century founder of California’s system of Catholic missions, was canonized by Pope Francis Wednesday — the first saint elevated on U.S. soil. Perhaps he will soon work another. Serra canonization. “This is the big story: The first Hispanic Pope is coming to America to give us our first Hispanic saint. "9 Three years later and a year before Serra's death, Governor Pedro Fages, an old antagonist of Father Serra, complained that all missionaries were guilty of excessive severity toward their neophytes. Success! 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. Blessed Serra was thus deemed to have already met the sainthood criteria. Their goals in crossing the Atlantic were to save souls and bring new regions into an expanding Spanish realm. Following is the text of the English translation of Pope Francis canonizing the Rev. But more important, they also see an earlier American history, one that unfolded long before men such as Washington and Jefferson led the Revolution and even before the Puritans came to New England. 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. 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. Descendants of Mission Natives strongly oppose the canonization of Junipero Serra. 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. "When the Spanish first came, it … Clearly the Pope believes that if Americans can embrace what is Spanish and Catholic in America’s past, they can become more accepting of our nation’s growing Latino and Catholic populations, irrespective of their origins. She wrote “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir,” a book about her ancestors’ experiences in the Spanish missions. Part I Read More » Pope Francis recently apologized to Native peoples in South America for past inhumane treatment and colonization; yet our ancestors were suppressed, dominated and enslaved by Serra and considered collateral damage to the Church and State. “My objection and the objection of many California Indians is that he is being honored for in fact dishonoring many of our California ancestors. 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. The canonization of Serra hearkens back to a pious, if not perilous, understanding of evangelization, and offers painful evidence that the institutional church … 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. Timothy Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference in Washington, said many scholars acknowledge Serra’s complicated legacy. Two years later in Santa Barbara, another Serra monument at the city's mission was also decapitated and covered with red paint. The Pope has planned to meet with Native Americans in Washington after the Mass, a Vatican official told CNN’s Delia Gallagher. When Pope Francis canonized Father Serra in 2015, Mr. Medina said, he traveled to Washington D.C. with the blessing of his elders to read a Bible verse in … The Vatican has argued that Serra was "a man of his time" and should not be judged by modern standards. Back to Top. Time will tell. 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. Process is the blog of the Organization of American Historians, The Journal of American History, and The American Historian, dedicated to exploring the process of doing history and the multifaceted ways of engaging with the U.S. past. Junipero Serra sainthood cause just one miracle away. Galvan was active in the support of Serra’s cause for canonization beginning in 1978, when he met Serra biographer and Franciscan friar Fr. The evidence propelled Pope Francis, the first pontiff from Latin America, to share in the homily at Serra’s canonization on September 23, 2015 in Washington, D.C., “Junípero sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated … 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. In response to my writings in the DM on the truth of the role of Junipero Serra and the missions he founded in … Why the Serra Canonization? Pope Courts Controversy With Canonization of Junipero Serra. from Anar Virji. Please click the button below to agree to our Terms and Conditions and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. The Rev. In Serra’s defense, Governor Jerry Brown stated that “The Pope is right in recognizing his sanctity.”. His supporters argue he defended the indigenous population against the excesses of colonialism. The Disputed Canonization of Junipero Serra. Junipero Serra at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C., 23 September 2015 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. They accuse in the 18th century Franciscan missionary … I suspect that this canonization has little if anything to do with Serra’s Indian policies and everything to do with what the Pope and others perceive to be the increasingly inhumane treatment today of immigrants, not only across Europe but also within the United States. 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 … Junípero Serra's road to sainthood is controversial for Native Americans. This wasn't the first time the Church had attempted to elevate Serra’s holy stature. Here's another image of Junipero Serra from a first-edition book about the Spanish Franciscan friar entitled, "Relacion Historica de la Vida y Apostolica Tareas del Venerable Padre Fray Junipero Serra," by Father Francisco Palou. He is also an OAH Distinguished Lecturer. Tagged: California missions, colonization, human rights, Junipero serra canonization, racism, Spanish Inquisition, vatican police. 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. This article is more than 5 years old. 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. 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. It is also a reminder to our nation’s Nativists that Catholics and Hispanics have a long claim to American soil and its history. WASHINGTON — More than 220 years ago, the California Indians evangelized by Father Junípero Serra declared him a saint. The canonization of Junipero Serra has drawn strong protest from many Native Americans. Homily, Mass and Canonization of Fr. But the Native American campaign to stop Serra’s canonization never gained an audience in Rome, Miranda said. On Wednesday, Junípero Serra, the architect of the California mission system that converted 81,000 Native Americans to Christianity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, will be canonized as a saint in Washington during Pope Francis' first visit to the United States. By the time Francis arrived on campus, hordes of people were still waiting to clear checkpoints. When men such as Pope Francis and Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles look at our nation’s past, they must marvel at the accomplishments of the Pilgrims and our traditional Founding Fathers. 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. This portrait has become one of the standard representations of him and was done in the early 1900s by a Mexican priest, Father Jose Mosqueda, who said he copied it from a work that could have been an original portrait of Serra from the 1750s. “[Pope Francis] has chosen to proceed with the canonization of Franciscan Missionary Junípero Serra — a man who played a pivotal role in the enslavement, torture, and other violent tactics perpetrated against Native peoples though the mission system in California,” the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) told ThinkProgress in a statement on Wednesday. This letter is written by Serra's own hand and is kept in a climated-controlled vault at Old Mission Santa Barbara. Quick Facts Name Junipero Serra Occupation Missionary, Saint Birth Date c. November 24, 1713 Death Date c. August 28, 1784 Place of Birth Majorca, Spain PHOTO: 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. Just this year he survived an attempt by some California legislators to remove his statue from the U.S. Capitol. The protests spilled onto the Stanford University campus. 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. The first page is in Spanish. 6:13 PM EDT, Wed September 23, 2015. CNN’s Michael Martinez and Ray Sanchez contributed to this report. Santa Barbara Mission Archive- library. Junipero Serra was an 18th ... the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has to vet the nomination before choosing whether to approve the person for sainthood. This man who is soon to be a saint might just be the symbol that Americans have long needed to more fully recognize another aspect of the complexity of our nation’s origins. 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. Fr. 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. 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