Mission San Gabriel Archangel, California

Mission San Gabriel Archangel, California
Mission San Gabriel Archangel circa 1889

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Santo Junipero!

Blessed Junipero Serra to be made a saint

As all of you who follow or read this blog know, I am a huge fan of Father Serra. Thousands of hours of research and visiting every one of the Upper California missions has given me a chance to know the true story of this dedicated man and the results of his efforts.

You may know that I'm not Catholic.

But that makes no difference. Junipero Serra, the little man with mighty faith, from Majorca, ignored his size and weakness and bleeding ulcers on his leg to walk thousands of miles to spread the Word of Jesus Christ to natives of Nueva España.

And the naysayers are coming out of the woodwork. Their claims that Franciscans under Father Serra beat, tortured, and enslaved the natives is so patently false that they would be laughable – if not about something so serious.

The items below are reports in various media outlets. I've provided links so you may see for yourselves the comments made on them. I've also included my own comments for your view.

I hope all of you are as pleased as I am that Pope Francis has decided to canonize Reverend Father Serra. He gave his life for his beliefs and nothing more need be said about it.


It saddens me to read some of these comments.

I too grew up in the shadow of the missions, although I was not and am not a Catholic. I listened to the stories and one thing always bothered me. If Father Serra and his fellow missionary Franciscans were so mean and cruel, why did thousands of California natives VOLUNTARILY come to the missions and accept the teachings of the church?

And why did they stay?

They were not chained and punishment for infractions was always no more severe than spankings given by 18th Century parents in the western world. The rule was no blood or bruises. Several Spanish soldiers were severely punished at the behest of the friars for maltreating the natives.

In fact, the friars punished themselves far worse when they beat their breasts with rocks or removed the tops of their robes and flagellated themselves to the point of drawing blood.

Father Serra was always weak and small compared to his companions. He walked thousands of miles in his missionary efforts in spite of the bleeding lesions in his leg. He never ate a meal of more than simple gruel and gave what income was due him to the natives he loved as his children.

Many cite thousands of natives dying due to the Franciscans and Spanish soldiers. In the 74 years the friars led the missions, no more natives died than was normal for the time. The majority of deaths occurred AFTER Mexico gained independence and took control of the missions away from the Catholic church. The mission Indians were reduced to penury and many ended up as peons (a form of slavery) or homeless in a wilderness they no longer knew how to survive in.

And the worst slaughter came when the Americans came. Having wiped out tens upon tens of thousands of Native Americans in their drive for what they considered their divine destiny, they did the same to the few remaining California natives in order to enrich themselves.

Those who wish to know more of the truth of Father Serra and his legacy are invited to check out my blog, Father Serra's Legacy.

May the Lord bless Saint Junipero and thank you Pope Francis

Father Junipero Serra to be elevated to sainthood, Pope Francis says



About time!

This ill, little man with amazing dedication, did what he could to bring civilization to a backwards people. And, due to his efforts, California became a beacon on the west coast of North America

Read more about this amazing man at Father Serra''s Legacy


Father Junipero Serra: California hero or villain?


This man loved the Indians who came to the missions and thought of them as he children. He treated them as fathers did their children in 18th Century Europe and even less harsh than in other civilizations. He surely deserves sainthood.


As someone who has extensively studied this amazing man's efforts to bring his faith to the peoples of the Californias, it is indeed heartwarming to read of Pope Francis' decision.

Maybe now, all the lies written about this priest and missionary will be revealed for what they are - lies.

Having authored three historical novels in Father Serra's Legacy, this indeed warms my heart.


Could the pope visit Orange County? Sainthood announcement of Father Junipero Serra spurs hopes @ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/serra-648410-mission-san.html

The claim that Reverend Father Serra “founded” the mission is erroneous. Fisrt of all, the site was originally selected by Father Juan Crespí during the original Portolá expedition of California in 1769. Because of deaths and illness in San Diego, Reverend Father Serra did not go on the expedition.

The site was originally consecrated on October 30, 1775, by Father Fermín Lasuén, but was quickly abandoned due to unrest among the indigenous population in San Diego

If you want to read more accurate information about the mission, read The King's Highway, Book Two of Father Serra's Legacy available at Bluewood Publishing or Amazon.com.

Pope's canonization announcement surprises even Serra's promoters @ http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1500192.htm


Father Serra dedicated his life to spreading the beliefs of Christianity in 18th Century New Spain.

Many lies have been told about him. He "enslaved the Indians." And he "treated them like slaves."

For someone who has extensively studied this amazing little man who ignored severe sores and lesions on his legs to walk thousands of miles, these lies must be erased and corrected. In the mode of the world at that time, he treated all of the Indians who VOLUNTARILY came to the missions as his children. He gave them the ability to overcome droughts and famine and helped them learn skills of the time.

I have narrated his life in the Californias and other Franciscan Friars who created all 21 missions in Upper California in three history novels in Father Serra's Legacy. They are available at Bluewoodpublishing.com and Amazon.com.

Pope Francis announced plan to canonize Father Junipero Serra @ http://wn.ktvu.com/story/27865055/archbishop-elated-at-popes-decision-to-canonize-junipero-serra


posted this comment with this added:

And, if you want to know why so many of the Native Americans of the time died, check out what happened to them after Mexico secularized the mission and took them away from the Catholic church. With their livelihoods taken away, they were left to become peons and thieves and to starve to death. And then came the Gringos who hunted them down to enslave or simply kill as nuisances.

Mission Santa Barbara Welcomes Father Serra as the Next Saint @ http://www.keyt.com/news/mission-santa-barbara-welcomes-father-serra-as-the-next-saint/30746948

I am sure Mister Smith is trying to be truthful about the Franciscan/Spanish colonization of Upper California. However, one must look into this page of history in the light of the times and the fact that thousands of natives of California regularly died of climate events and diseases already endemic to them.

A question must be asked -- of the friars were so cruel to them, why did thousands throughout the present-day state voluntarily come to the missions -- and then stay there to work at tasks totally alien to them? They were not held in chains. The only rule, clearly stated to them, was that they could go home for religious and family events having asked permission first. If they ran away, they were brought back to be punished - as a parent would punish a child in 18th Century Europe. A time of ":spare the rod and spoil the child."

A clear rule of Franciscan "punishment" was to explain the error and them "spank" them as parents of the time did to their children. No blood to be let and no bruises to be left upon the body.

The fathers punished themselves far worse by flagellating themselves to the point of blood pouring down their backs.

For those who want THE TRUTH of the Spanish colonization, I recommend the three historical novels of the series, Father Serra's Legacy available at http://www.bluewoodpublishing.com and Amazon.com. The founding of Mission Santa Barbara is included in The King's Highway, Book Two.

California Mission founder Junipero Serra to be canonized as saint, Pope Francis announces @ http://www.dailynews.com/social-affairs/20150115/california-mission-founder-junipero-serra-to-be-canonized-as-saint-pope-francis-announces

A little tidbit - Pope Francis indicated canonization is "in spite of not having two miracles." He means substantiated miracles.

There are many, many stories of things not understood by modern science that have been attributed to this holy little many who ignored the painful sores and lesions on his leg to walk thousands of miles to bring Christianity to the natives of both Mexico and present day California.

To know more about this man from Mallorca, read the three historical novels in Father Serra's Legacy available online at Bluewoodpublishing.com or Amazon.com




Having spent much time researching Father Serra, I am very pleased at Pope Francis' decision.

In spite of the lies and hatred spread about this saintly man, the truth is such that, in spite of lacking the required number of verified "miracles," this little man ignore the lesions in his leg to walk thousands of miles from deep in Baja California to San Francisco. He faced unknown dangers and fought against the intransigence of the Spanish governors to set an example.

Perhaps now people will realize that thousands of California Indians VOLUNTARILY gathered at the missions and worked there are those dedicated to Father Serra's goal of giving them a better life.