Summary Of Junipero Serr California's Founding Father '

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Junipero Serra was a very interesting man. In many history books, Serra is painted to be one of the founding fathers of California. He is a national figure that any know for his missions to California and Mexico. The book, Junipero Serra: California’s Founding Father by Steven Hackel gives the public an accurate depiction of Serra’s entire life, from his birth to his death. He writes clearly how Serra was an influential character to California, although it may not have been all for good. Recently Father Serra was canonized by Pope Francis for his work in California. This is a topic that is well debated by many historians. Serra’s missions to California were supposed to “help” the Native People by converting them to Christianity, although this …show more content…

Mallorca is a small island towards the south of Spain. Serra excelled in school so his parents sent him to the Convento de San Benardino where he began to study the Catholic religion. His introduction was the reason for his choice to become a Franciscan missionary. As time went on, Serra became more and more dedicated to his faith and would follow the models of previous Franciscans he found inspiring. Hackel writes in his book of Serra’s dedication, “It was after these devoted and often bloodied disciples of Saint Francis that Miquel Joseph modeled himself” (Hackel 35). Serra’s strong dedication to his faith was the reason that his beliefs were so strong towards the native people of Mexico and California. An example of Serra’s strong faith is when he first arrives in Mexico. As a homage to his faith, Serra walked all the way to Mexico City in order to get to his college. In his doing so, Serra severely injured on of his legs on the journey by letting it get bit constantly by mosquitos. Although this injury probably caused Serra a lot of pain, he thought of it as, “a pleasurable sort of pain; it was perhaps one of the only kinds of pleasure a Franciscan like him was allowed to know.” (78). This decision by Serra, caused him pain throughout his life, although he never really did acknowledge it as something to fret …show more content…

He was on a mission to convert Indians he met to the Catholic religion. Hackel gives us the definition of what Serra thought conversion was at that time, “commonly referred to the process through which Catholics took up a more serious form of religious practice” (63). Because of this definition, we can clearly see that Serra was very unprepared for the challenges he was going to face in the new world. An article was written by Tony Platt about Serra and why he shouldn’t have been canonized. There are compelling facts about Serra that show how his dedication to religion could have caused many issues with his missions and also how he was unprepared when it came to Mexico. Platt writes, “To Serra, the people who had lived “from time immemorial” in relative peace and comfort were backward children in need of a firm hand, just as the Confederate South imagine enslaved Americans.” (Platt 1). This comparison is very interesting in that it really shows that Serra was really not the godly saint everyone thought him to be. He has such a dedication to his beliefs and his faith that it made him crueler towards the Natives which really caused barriers to form between both parties. This was one of the downfalls to his missions. In Serra’s first mission in the new world to Serra Gordon we see both successes and failures. Serra successfully “converted” many of the Indians, and helped with the construction of several new churches of

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