Among the points of interest sought out by visitors to the Capitol at Washington, D.C., is the National Hall of Statuary. Situated in the old hall of the House of Representatives, Statuary Hall was created by an act of Congress in 1864 and contains forty-eighty bronze statues set upon marble pedestals, each inscribed in gold letters with the name of a man and the name of a state. Each state was originally invited to contribute not more than two statues of men considered worthy of national commemoration, but in 1933, the number in Statuary Hall was limited to each for each state, with the rest placed in the Rotunda and elsewhere in the Capitol.
One of the forty-eight statues stands out because of its unique attire. Among the frock crocks of the statesmen, the military uniform of the generals, and the fur hats of the pioneers, there is a tonsured little man in a long robe, his bare feet in sandals, one hand holding the model of a church, the other raising a large cross. He is easily recognizable as a Franciscan. The name of the state engraved beneath his statue: California.
If we look at the map of California, we cannot help being struck by the considerable number of cities and towns bearing the names of saints, particularly saint connected with the Franciscan Order. San Francisco, for instance, honors the founder himself, the gentle and generous Poverello of Assisi. Some fifty miles to the south, in a smiling valley of orchards and vineyards, we find Santa Clara, named for the great friend and collaborator of Saint Francis, St. Clare, founder of the Clarist Sisters. St. Anthony of Padua, the great Franciscan preacher of southern France, has given his name to a river in central California and a hamlet on the edge of the Mojave Desert. And San Juan Capistrano, with its lovely mission gardens and its homing swallows, bears the name of another illustrious Franciscan preacher, St. John Capistran, whose eloquence moved thousands in Bohemia and Moravia and who led the Crusades against besieging Belgrade in the fifteenth century.
Even the glamour city of the state, the motion-picture capital of the world (since Hollywood is actually only a district within its municipality), Los Angeles, bears the name in the Franciscan tradition. The original Spanish name for Los Angeles was El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, and the Franciscan Order was founded in the Church of Our Lady of the Angels.
The modest Franciscan who has been immortalized in bronze in the Capitol of the American nation has thus left his mark on the state that chose him as one of the two most distinguished Californians. And what a mark! Today hundreds of tourists travel over his Camino Real every year to visit the places he lived, and the museums dedicated to his memory, inspecting such relics as the packsaddles of his mules and the caldrons in which he cooked the food for his beloved Indians. California schoolchildren learn his name as soon as they begin to read, the name inscribed in the pedestal at the Capitol in Washington: Junipero Serra. (Henri Daniel-Rops, The Heroes of God, Hawthorn Books, 1959, pp. 129-131.)
What is known today as California would not have come into existence with the hard, tireless, exhausting work, endless sacrifice and the great zeal for souls of Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., who was born on November 24, 1713, the Feast of Saint of the Cross, and died on August 28, 1794, the Feast of Saint Augustine. I have a personal devotion to Father Serra of longstanding, and I have prayed at his tomb in the Basilica of Saint Charles Borromeo in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, many times, as well as visiting the mission sites he found to instruct his beloved Indians in the Catholic Faith and to teach them how to cultivate the fertile land, grow and harvest crops aplenty, teaching them other useful skills in order to make each mission community self-sufficient. His methods of conversion to the Faith and of educating the Indians to use the land and to engage in useful skills in Baja Mexico was so well-known in Spain that he was the one chosen for the specific mission of founding missions in Alta California, which is the present-day State of California.
Father Junipero Serra fought endless battles with Lieutenant (and Captain) Pedro Fages over the mistreatment of the Indians at the hands of Spanish soldiers. Fages had contempt for the Franciscan friar, who was very small of stature, and had little use for his gentle, loving ways with the Indians, who, despite some lingering habits of thievery, were docile as they sought out and took instruction from Fray Serra with great readiness. Nothing was dearer to the heart of Fray Junipero Serra, a true son of Saint Francis of Assisi who had a great love for the Holy Cross of the Divine Redeemer, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and a most tender, filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, than the conversion of the Indians to the true Faith so that they could be fortified by the sacraments and thus to be able to perform their work well and with great care for the honor and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity. Fages had little use for such work as he was going to “pacify” the Indians by military means, which was what he believed worked best in order to make the California Indians obey the Spanish colonizers. Father Junipero Serra, though, spoke the truth to the powerful Pedro Fages, who became the second Governor of California in 1782, and the latter, although it took time, came to realize the errors of his ways and the wisdom of Fray Serra before the great Franciscan founder of California died on August 26, 1784 after fifteen years of exhausting work. The words of Governor Fages quoted above attest to the latter’s own humility by having admitted publicly to one and all that Fray Serra was correct and he, Fages, was wrong to have had contempt for the missionary and his methods of the love of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Father Serra’s mission work in Upper California began the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala on July 16, 1869, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and continued well north of there with the founding of what became his home mission, that of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo on June 3, 1870. Father Serra would be responsible for the founding of nine missions (a list and a can be found in Mark Brunelle’s Fray Junipero Serra . Another twelve were founded by others, making for a total twenty-one missions whose origin can be traced directly to Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., who helped the native people of California make full use of the land that God’s Holy Providence arranged for them to make their homes. Fray Serra thus created a replica of Christendom in each of the missions he founded.
Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., did not, however, undertake the work of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II’s “new evangelization,” which has been embraced wholeheartedly by Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Father Serra did not believe that he had to “learn” anything about the diabolical superstitions that held sway over the minds of the Indians, whose natural virtues and gentleness he admired greatly, knowing that those virtues, once watered by Sanctifying Grace, would make great saints of many of the converts. Yes, converts. Fray Junipero Serra did not “dialogue” with the Indians; he sought to convert them to the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation and without which there can be no true social order. Father Serra also wanted to save the souls of the Spanish soldiers as he prayed for each of them to see the very impress of the Divine Redeemer Himself in the souls of the California Indians and to treat them as they would have treated Our Lord Himself in the very Flesh.
Father Serra carried his large Crucifix, the very sign of our Catholic Faith, with him whenever he traveled. He loved the Cross of Christ the King, embracing the painful scorpion bite that caused an ulcerous sore to develop on his leg without a word of complaint and without letting pain stand in the way of undertaking grueling rides to the mission. He did all for the love of God and for the love of the souls redeemed by the shedding of every single drop of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Himself. Such heroic self-sacrifice won hearts over to him as it was impossible for even the likes of Pedro Fages not to permit himself to see the love of God that prompted Father Serra’s fidelity to the work begun by the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday as God the Holy Ghost descended in tongues of flame upon the Apostles and our dear Blessed Mother in the same Upper Room in Jerusalem where Our Lord Himself had instituted the Holy Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist fifty-two days beforehand.
Father Junipero Serra was “beatified” by Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II on September 25, 1988, and will be “canonized” by Jorge Mario Bergoglio/Francis in September of this year during his visit to the East Coast of the United States of America.
To be sure, Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., is worthy of beatification and canonization by a true pope. Suffice it to say for the present, however, that most Californians themselves used to hold the founding father of what is now the State of California in the greatest esteem and admiration. The operative word in that last sentence was “used to.” Yes, it “used to be” the case that Henri Daniel-Rops’s assessment of the admiration that Californians had for Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., was one that had withstood the test of time. No more. No more.
Leave it to apostate Catholics in the state legislature of the People’s Republic of California, whose governor is the pro-abortion, pro-perversity, statist and wacko environmentalist named Edmund Gerald Brown, Jr., to initiate a legislative resolution to have Father Junipero Serra’s statue taking out of the United States Capitol:
SACRAMENTO, CA, April 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Two California state legislators are proposing that a statue of a priest who will be made a saint in the fall be removed from the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. and replaced with that of a homosexual astronaut.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins introduced a resolution to replace the statue of Father Junipero Serra with Sally Ride.
In the decree Lara defined Ride as a pioneer in space exploration, academia and said she was “a role model to Americans everywhere.”
Lara also said that the memory of Father Serra, who John Paul II beatified in 1988 and Pope Francis will canonize when he visits the United States in the fall, would be better served by relocating his statue to the California state Capitol “where citizens and visitors can enjoy it and be reminded of his significant historical impact upon our state.”
Each state is able to have two statues on display in the Statuary Hall of the Capitol. California currently has statues of President Ronald Regan and Blessed Serra, the latter having been in place since 1931.
Lara insisted the effort to remove the statue of Blessed Serra is not based on any controversy, rather it is to recognize Ride.
Congress approved the states’ ability to change statues in 2000, and a statue must remain in place for at least ten years.
In the event the resolution passes through both California chambers, the statue of Ride will be the first known homosexual individual to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. (California pols aim to replace state
Here is a little memorandum to Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins: petition Governor Moonbeam to commission a new statue of Father Serra to be displayed in the State Capitol of California, which happens to be situated in the City of Sacramento, which took its name from the Blessed Sacrament Itself, and keep Father Serra's statue where it is, just a short distance from the statue of the great missionary of New Mexico and Arizona, Father Eusebio Kino, S.J., who was as important a Jesuit in the desert southwest in the Seveenth Century and early Eighteenth Century as Father Pierre Jean de Smet, S.J., was to the Indians of the inland Pacific Northwest. Father Kino's statue represents the State of Arizona, although it is anyone's guess how long it might be before some resolution is introduced in the state legislature there to mimic that which is occurring in California at this time.
The effort by Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins to bump Father Junipero Serra's statue in favor of one of Sally Ride in the National Statuary Hall is perhaps less about the calumnious charge that Father Serra “mistreated” the Indians by using “condescending” means of converting and education them than it is about the celebration of an unrepentant practitioner of the sin of Sodom, which cries out to Heaven for vengeance. The celebration of sin and those who live in it habitually is now a common theme in the world and within the “mainstream” of the counterfeit church of conciliarism starting with “Pope Francis” himself, who has taken every opportunity imaginable to communicate via telephone or letter and/or to meet with those who are said to live on the “peripheries” because of their embrace of what is called the “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.”
As was the case with any great missionary in the past, including Saint Patrick in Ireland, Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., came to eradicate sin from the midst of the Indians, not to embrace it. Father Serra understand that one cannot truly love Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ while persisting in that which caused Him to suffer unspeakable horrors during His Passion and Death on the wood of the Holy Cross on Calvary and which caused those Swords of Sorrow to be pierced through and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, namely, sin. Father Serra hated sin of all kinds because he loved God as He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His Catholic Church, and it was this love for God and his desire to advance the sanctification and salvation of the souls of the Indians, which he knew had been purchased at the price of the shedding of every single drop of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, that prompted to spend fifteen years of ceaseless missionary toil.
The advancement of the sin of Sodom has become so bold now that a lesbian, whose sole distinction was having been an astronaut and an unrepentant practitioner of perversity by which no human being can save his immortal soul, is chosen to represent a state that would not exist without Catholic missionary work of Fray Junipero Serra, O.F.M. Many of California’s cities and rivers still bear, even if somewhat secularized in some instances (Los Angeles, Ventura, Sacramento), still bear the names given them by Father Serra and other Franciscan missionaries. Ah, what is that by way of comparison to a lesbian astronaut, eh?
I repeat now what I have written so many times in the past with respect to the “inclusion” of flaunting practitioners of perversity in Saint Patrick Day’s parades here in the United States of America: No one honors any saint by celebrating one’s chosen self-identity as a practitioner of any sin, no less one of the four that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. Fray Junipero Serra, O.F.M., would have sought the conversion of those steeped in such sins, and he would have done so with urgency.
Indeed, there is quite a contrast between the dangerous journeys undertaken by the prospectors who traveled overland to California to mine for gold between 1848 and 1855 thereafter during the great California Gold Rush. Although these individuals certainly exhibited great physical courage to cross the Rockies and to endure desert heat, rattlesnakes, limited supplies and the dangers of crossing the Donner Pass in the winter, they did so to mine for riches out of the earth that would make them materially wealthy in this life, this passing, mortal vale of tears. It was all about American prosperity and materialism as the defining ends of human existence, a product of Calvinism and Judeo-Masonry.
Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., though, endured harsh physical conditions in an untamed land as he rode with a bad leg on top of a donkey and/or walked up and down the coast of California, traveling by ship when necessary, of course, to give the spiritual riches of the Catholic Faith to the Indians to make them rich supernaturally in this life and thus to be able to enjoy Heavenly riches for all eternity as partakers in Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’s Easter Victory over sin and death. There wouldn’t have been a California for the “forty-niners” to prospect in had it not been for Fray Junipero Serra’s boundless spiritual and moral courage to work himself to the point of exhaustion to make the Indians rich unto eternity as he sought with great urgency the conversion of their immortal souls.
Quite a contrast, is it not?
The work of Father Serra is under attack in the secular world at the same time it is being deconstructed by Jorge Mario Bergoglio in order to seek, blasphemously, I should hasten to add, to make him yet another perjured “witness” in behalf of the false precepts of a false religion, conciliarism.
Consider the following passage from Bergoglio’s “homily” at the North American College in Rome, Italy, on Saturday, May 2, 2015, the Feast of Saint Athanasius (yes, even in the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical calendar) about the priest he will “canonize” in four months, Father Junipero Serra. O.F.M.:
First of all, he was a tireless missionary. What made Friar Junípero leave his home and country, his family, university chair and Franciscan community in Mallorca to go to the ends of the earth? Certainly, it was the desire to proclaim the Gospel ad gentes, that heartfelt impulse which seeks to share with those farthest away the gift of encountering Christ: a gift that he had first received and experienced in all its truth and beauty. Like Paul and Barnabas, like the disciples in Antioch and in all of Judea, he was filled with joy and the Holy Spirit in spreading the word of the Lord. Such zeal excites us, it challenges us! These missionary disciples who have encountered Jesus, the Son of God, who have come to know him through his merciful Father, moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit, went out to all the geographical, social and existential peripheries, to bear witness to charity. They challenge us! Sometimes we stop and thoughtfully examine their strengths and, above all, their weaknesses and their shortcomings.
But I wonder if today we are able to respond with the same generosity and courage to the call of God, who invites us to leave everything in order to worship him, to follow him, to rediscover him in the face of the poor, to proclaim him to those who have not known Christ and, therefore, have not experienced the embrace of his mercy. Friar Junípero’s witness calls upon us to get involved, personally, in the mission to the whole continent, which finds its roots in Evangelii Gaudium. (Jorge Deconstructs Father Serra's Work While At North American College.)
This is insidious.
As is the case with every baptized Catholic, Father Serra was given the gratuitous gift of the Catholic Faith when he was baptized. Father Serra did not have to “encounter” Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in some kind of “hidden way.” Bergoglio’s efforts to make Father Serra’s Catholic Faith a product of an “encounter” and to help others on the “existential peripheries” to “encounter” Our Lord is nothing other than the old agnosticism of Modernism at work once again. Modernists reject the fact that a baptized soul receives an infusion of Sanctifying Grace that permits the intellect to be enlightened and the will to be strengthened to know, love, and serve the Most Blessed Trinity as a member of the Catholic Church. While the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin (the darkened intellect, the weakened will, the disorderly inclination of the lower passions over the higher rational faculties) remain after Baptism, the Supernatural Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity are infused into a soul at the baptismal font and are meant to grow and to bear fruit over the course of a lifetime. This is what motivated Father Serra, not Modernism’s misrepresentation of the very nature of the gift of Faith Itself.
Moreover, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is as much as saying that Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., would be in complete accord with his, Bergoglio’s, false concept of “mercy” as he seeks to find ways to admit public sinners and those who engage in sins of perversity in violation of the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law into “full, active and conscious participation” in the life of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, up to and including reception of what purports to be Holy Communion. To imply such a thing is reprehensible. Then again, Bergoglio himself is a reprehensible reprobate who “sins, and sins boldly” against the Ten Commandments as he seeks to distort, misrepresent and deconstruct the very teaching of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and of the saints who followed Him in His work of seeking the salvation of souls.
You see, Jorge Mario Bergoglio believes that the first law of his church is social work, not the salvation of souls, which is the first law of the Catholic Church. It is thus necessary for him to try to make missionaries such as Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., and Father Francis Solano, O.F.M., who boldly preached against sins of impurity in the major market of Lima, Peru, in 1610, the very year of his own death, into “witnesses” for conciliarism, daring even to compare his work for the conversion of souls, a word that Bergoglio uses only to refer to what is necessary for those who are “rigid” and “Pharisaical” and “restorationists,” to support that the late “Archbishop” Romero gave much comfort to Marxism in general and to Communist “freedom fighters” in El Salvador (see "The Church That Flowed From The 'Second' Vatican Council .)
No, Bergoglio’s “homily” of two days ago was not redeemed by referencing Fray Junipero Serra’s love of Our Lady of Guadalupe as the Mother of God appeared to Juan Diego to seek the conversion of the Americas to the true Faith, not to engage the barbarous cannibals, the Aztecs, in any kind of “encounter” or “dialogue.” And convert the Aztecs and Mayans did, to the tune of over nine million souls, almost person-for-person the number of souls lost to the Faith in Europe as a result of the Protestant Revolution.
Perhaps even more to the point, Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s false church has encouraged the very superstitious pagan rites of the Indian tribes that Catholic missionaries such as Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M. sought to eradicate once and for all just as Saint Benedict of Nursia had destroyed a temple to the false god Apollo on Monte Cassino, whereupon he, the founder of Western monasticism, built his fabled monastery. It was in Father Serra’s own Mission San Juan Capistrano that a pagan ritual of casting to the four winds was carried out around 2007 or 2008, all in the name of “inculturation of the Gospel,” you understand, a concept that was unknown to and would have been mocked by Father Junipero Serra.
Although lengthy, consider the following description of the work of Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., as found in Henri Daniel-Rops’s The Heroes of God, which is available in its original 1959 unaltered version on the Abe Books website:
North of the Lower California peninsula was a vast mountainous region that had stopped the boldest of Spanish explorers at its shores. Some thirty maritime expeditions had probed its coastline, but none had investigated the interior, none had thought of starting a settlemen, and few had put landing parties ashore. They had mapped out several anchorages, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Monterey, although what previous navigators called “San Francisco Bay” was an unsheltered cove twenty miles to the north, today called Drake’s Bay; the great harbor of San Francisco was not be discovered for another year or so. The coastal range of mountains, the early explorers, assumed, dipped again to the sea on the far side—apparently an extension of the Gulf of California they said. As for the people of the country, little was known except that they were Indians, very likely Apaches, and that they went around naked because the climate was so delightful.
Why did Madrid suddenly order an expedition to push into this unknown land? For a very curious reason that will be understood by Americans today. The chancelleries of Europe were agog with the rumor that the czarina of Russia—none other than the notorious Catherine II, whose personal and territorial ambitions were considerable-was about to extend her expansionist program to the New World. A Russian expedition would cross the Pacific to occupy the western coast of North America in the name of the czarina. A Russian colony on the borders of the Spanish lands in America would indeed constitute a danger to peace and to Spanish prestige, so the Viceroy of Mexico took matters into his own hands and decided to build a fortress at Monterey capable of repelling a Russian invasion of California.
Remember the fine work that Fra Junipero had done in the Sierra Gorda, the viceroy summoned the missionary to Mexico City and asked him to accompany the military expedition, using his now-famous Pame methods to pacify the California Indians by founding missions along the supply lines. A missionary to the depths of his soul, Junipero Serra accepted with joy.
This was 1768. For the next sixteen years, until the day of his death, the little monk with the limp would be the director of an astonishing project: to rescue for civilization this wild new country, to plant the Cross along some six hundred miles of coastline. His poor leg still pained him. The ulceration refused to heal, and his limp was more and more pronounced. Other maladies were to be added to his physical handicap: chronic bronchitis and frequent serious attacks of gastritis. And the life he was forced to lead was hardly designed for a semi-invalid.
Picture the makeup of an expedition heading into this unknown country. A troop of twenty mounted cuirassiers; a company of sappers to clear the trail, cut down trees, and improvise bridges; Indian archers recruited from Christianized tribes; a whole little world of laborers, cooks, farmers, and herdsmen; not to mention the mass of bleating, bellowing animals who were brought along for the double purpose of furnishing food during the journey and forming the nuclei of farming colonies once settlements were established.
The expedition was in constant danger. Valleys and mountain passes were all potential points of ambush. The camps were heavily guarded at night. Despite this, there were several bloody attacks by Indians. But the column pushed on to found a series of combination missions and military outposts along a coast that is today one of the world’s favorite recreation areas. And the present names of the missions designate pleasant beaches, stylish resorts, and restful vacation spots.
As soon as one mission was founded—they were situated one day’s march apart—Fra Junipero put his system into operation. Love and gentleness were his secret ingredients. How he cherished his Indians! He spoke warmly of their natural virtues, the rare qualities they possessed, which need only Baptism to come into full flower. He found no fault with them, which is saying much. According to him, they had only to hear of the beauties of the holy Christian religion to become converted, to become better, more civilized men than many Europeans. He suffered agonies whenever events proved him wrong; when, for example, a few example renegade Christian Indians would attack a mission. He suffered even more when European soldiers, who were far from all being saints, used violence on the Indians or launched reprisals. The most surprising thing was that, on the whole, Fra Junipero’s methods were quite successful.
Soon each of his mission stations became a true center of European civilization. The three of four Franciscan fathers who maintained each mission taught the Indians the cultivation of the soil, the raising of livestock, and even a few rural crafts. Numerically, the project really didn’t amount to much at the start; only a few hundred Indians were ready to come and live under the protection of the white men and listen to their counsel. Beyond the missions many dangers still existed, and communications between stations could be maintained under heavy escort. Furthermore, the methods of kindness often seemed pretty absurd to the Spanish soldiers charged with pacifying the country. They believed that only force could maintain law and order. A good massacre from time to time would keep the Indians in line.
Junipero Serra naturally opposed the military viewpoint, and he went so far as to protest the policy of force to Don Antonio Maria Bucareli y Ursua, the Viceroy, Governor, and Captain General of New Spain. Fortunately the viceroy was a true Christian who understood the great missionary’s viewpoint. Yet, despite the backing of Mexico City, of the sixteen years he devoted to the creation of California, Fra Junipero spent no fewer than six or seven of them in fighting the stupidity of lay administrators and military officers who thought only in terms of killing. Soe of them were so disgusted with the Franciscan’s methods and influence that they recommended to Mexico City that the whole California project be abandoned.
Abandon California? Again Fra Junipero was up in arms. The little monk fought this new proposition with such fierce energy that een once more it was to him that Mexico City listened. Even if the danger of a Russian invasion seemed to have pass, there could be no question of leaving a Christian work half done. As long as he lived, Junipero Serra would not desert his cherished Indians who had put their trust in him, who had asked to be baptized. No, the work must be carried forward as far as possible.
It was a great joy for the tireless founder, who had always believed that Upper California would one day become a Christian land, to learn in 1776 that his old friend and spiritual brother, one of his valued collaborators, Father Francisco Palou, had taken a little group of priests north of Monterey and founded a new mission that would bear the most illustrious name in all the great Franciscan family: San Francisco.
To judge the results of all this admirable enterprise, of all this effort expended with such risk and trouble, we must jump twenty years ahead to the beginning of the nineteenth century. By that time, the whole coast, from San Diego to San Francisco, had been occupied and pacified. From the shores of the Pacific to the edge of the desert, all the Indians had become Christians. The missions had continued to multiply: Santa Barbara, La Purissima Concepcion, San Miguel, Solano, San Jose, San Francisco—and many others. There was no longer need of mounted cuirassiers with their muskets to maintain law and order. To found a new mission, all that was needed was to send two Franciscan fathers with an escort of four or five men. The Indians had learned the advantages of European civilization and were eager for education.
The land had been transformed. From the moment the first white men saw the country, they had noted that north of the thirteenth parallel, the climate was really ideal, that the valleys were carpeted with vigorous green grass, and that that the hillsides were covered with wild grapevines. Fra Junipero Serra had sent to Europe for seeds and plants, and in accordance with this wishes, the Indians quickly learned to grow fruits and vegetables. Acres and acres were gradually given over to olive trees, orange groves, vineyards, and fruit trees of all kinds. They flourished, better than in Spain, even better than in Andalucia. The local-born horses turned out to be an excellent breed, hardy and lively.
And even better, California was getting roads, real roads with solid bridges. There were even canals. There were also mills and workshops for all trades. California was becoming self-sufficient. A visiting traveler exclaimed, “This is the Spanish Acadia!” And another traveler, a Protestant, declared, “I have never seen a happier people than those who live in this land.” George Vancouver, the British navigator who sailed with [Thomas] Cook and later explored the American Pacific coast on his own, wrote his own explanation of the apparent miracle: “To what should we attribute the unheard-of-opulence if not to the strict husbandry and to the sacrifices which the monks endured from the start?” This is true. Without Junipero Serra and his team of Franciscans, California would not have been the same.
At the threshold of the nineteenth century, this Franciscan California was a veritable republic of happiness. The father-directors governed a commonwealth divided into twenty-odd missions each composed of two thousand natives. It might have been called an immense monastery, for the society was ruled by Christian principles. The Gospel was law. Private property did not exist. All property and goods belonged to the community, and the father divided it according to the needs of each family, so that all should be well provided for. Daily live was attuned to the rhythm of prayer, Divine Office, and religious ceremonies, a routine that nobody dreamed of avoiding. It seemed like Paradise on earth.
But this marvelous experiment was not to last. In 1821, Mexico, having declared its independence from the Spanish Crown, attacked and captured California. Twelve years later, during a series of violent crises that gripped the state all through the nineteenth century, an anticlerical government decreed that all missions must be secularized. The Franciscans were expelled from the land they had created. It was until 1847, fourteen years after their exile, that the United States, having defeated Mexico by force of arms, acquired the vast territory that today comprises Texas, New Mexico, and Upper California, could resume the work of civilization.
By that time, the great missionary who had laid the foundations for California had been dead for more than sixty years. In 1784, Fra Junipero Serra died the holiest of deaths. He had insisted that he be stretched out upon the ground in toke of his humility, invoking with his last breath the Lord Jesus and the Virgin Mary. His brothers who entered the poor cell found him on the ground, asleep in God. He was clasping to his breath the great crucifix from which, day and night, even in sleep, he was never separated. (Henri Daniel-Rops, The Heroes of God, Hawthorn Books, 1959, pp. 138-145.)
Mark Brunelle, an author who lives in the Monterey Peninsula, became fascinated in the work of Father Serra enough to research the original manuscripts that contain his letters and those of his contemporaries. Brunelle’s book, Fray Junipero Serra, thus contains the actual dialogue spoken by Father Serra and his contemporaries. Although a very short book of less than one hundred pages, it is jammed pack full of first-hand accounts of the Franciscan missionary’s work to convert souls and to equip them to be temporally as self-sufficient as possible, including the following account of Father Serra’s efforts to appear the Viceroy of New Spain in Mexico City to effect the removal of the then Commandant Pedro Fages of the presidio in Monterey:
Father Serra went directly to the Viceroy’s office and was taken to see Bucareli immediately. Entering the large room through a massive doorway, the padre saw a man seated at a desk beside a long row of windows. The Spanish flag was displayed on the wall behind him with a map of Mexico, Baja California, and the new colony in upper California. Ribbons showed the five missions already established and the Mission San Buenaventura, which had not yet been founded.
The servant announced, “Padre Junipero Serra, the Father Presidente of the upper California missions to see you, Your Excellency.”
Father Serra limped slowly into the large office. The walls were covered with rows of books and the fireplace was large enough to stand in. The Viceroy rose to his feet. “Come in and be seated, Padre Serra.”
Father Serra moved painfully across the tiled floor. With a sigh, he sat down in a chair and pulled a letter from the sleeve of his habit. He held it firmly in his hand. “What I have to say to you, your Excellency, needs your immediate consideration.
“The conditions in the missions of upper California could indeed be much better than they are. If you could remove the obstacles that I will endeavor to explain to you, and grant what I ask, there may yet be a chance to convert these people and obtain a beautiful colony for the King.”
“Your Guardian at San Fernando has kept me well informed.”
“The first two matters are of extreme importance,” he said. “The port of San Blas should be retained because bringing supplies overland would be more costly and much more hazardous than sending them in ships.”
“I see,” the Viceroy said, noncommittally, “Continue.”
“It troubles me to tell you that theft, the violation of women, and murder are commonplace occurrences in this land without civil law.”
“I have studied all of the reports carefully.”
Father Serra put the letter he had in his hand on the Viceroy’s desk. “Fame is an everyday problem in the colony. That is why the Santiago should be completed,” he said. “It will be a large ship and will be able the carry the cargo of the San Antonio and the San Carlos combined. I have written this memorandum to explain this matter in detail.”
“I will study your report carefully and will let you know of my decision as soon as possible.”
Father Serra paused, studying the man before him. He was sure he knew the Viceroy, but, if he had misjudged the official’s reaction, a great deal would be lost with the next request. Nevertheless, it needed to be said, “I have done a considerable amount of thinking on other points, such as the replacement of Pedro Fages as the Commandant of Monterey.”
Bucareli sat back in his chair. “Who would you suggest as a replacement.”
“The best man in California is Sergeant Jose Francisco Ortega.”
The Viceroy smiled, “If I appointed a sergeant as Commandant, the officers would rebel.”
“I understand your politics, your Excellency. They can be very inhibiting.”
“But I’m inclined to agree with you, Padre Serra. Something must be done.”
“Furthermore, your Excellency, I believe that the colonization of this fertile should be encouraged. The soldiers should be given a payment of land, livestock, and money if they marry Christian Indian women,” he said. “Tradesmen should be brought to teach the young Indian boys the necessary skills that keep a colony alive and productive. The Indian people are highly skilled. Their pottery and basket-work is extraordinary.”
“You mentioned civil protection for the Indians.”
“Yes, your Excellency, this is most important. Since they are loyal subjects of the King, they should have the protection of his laws. As it is now, if we not lock up the women at night, they are not safe even in the missions.”
Viceroy Bucareli leaned forward in his chair. “Your points are well taken, Padre Serra. It only remains for us to convince the Junta,” he said. “Draw up a memorandum, which you and I will submit. We will stand up for it together.
“You are most kind, your Excellency.”
“If it were up to me alone, I’d adopt your proposals before you left my office.”
“I am very concerned about the Santiago,” the Padre said. “I have heard that it is jeopardy of the torch.”
“The final decision must come through this office, Padre, so sleep well while I fight for what it is right.”
“May God bless you, your Excellency.”
“I will see you again when you have drawn up your memorandum.”
“Then you will see me very soon,” the little priest said with a smile.
“May God continue to give you inspiration and boundless energy.”
Viceroy Bucareli rose from his chair and escorted Father Serra to the door. The Viceroy then went back to his desk and studied the letter that Father Serra had left on this desk.
Losing no time, Father Serra went to his room in San Fernando College and began to work on the memorandum that Bucareli had requested. The padre sat his simple desk, quill in his hand, and small spectacles in place. He dipped the pen into an inkwell and titled the first page, “Representacion.”
Father Serra worked for almost two days writing the thirty-two concise articles that he hoped would become law in upper California. He finished his work at dawn on the second day, below out the lamp and hurried down a long hallway and out a side door with the memorandum clutched tightly in his hand. Arriving at Viceroy Bucareli’s office, he took a seat near the large desk and waited for the man to awaken.
Bucareli arrived, buttoning his jacked as he walked. “You must have worked day and night, Padre,” he said, gong to his desk.
The padre smiled. “I am sorry to disturb you so early in the morning, your Excellency, but while I sit here and talk, the needs of the missions go unattended. And the situation only gets worse.”
“Will you wait for the Junta to meet or will you go back to Monterey?”
I will take their decision back with me,” he said, “even if it takes months. Some of my letters have been withheld in the past.”
“What I say of this man is for the good of the King’s colony. If he is replaced, I pray that he will have an assignment that is worthy of his station and I pray that God goes with him.”
Bucareli smiled at the little priest and shook his head in amazement. “How can you feel this way, Padre, after all of the problems that this man has caused?”
“I will always pray for him to amend his ways, your Excellency.”
Bucareli nodded. “I have arranged a reception for you and your young traveling companion. It will be held after the Junta has delivered its decision.”
“I know that young Juan will represent his people well.”
“That’s exactly what I had in mind, Padre.”
“I’m afraid that most people have the wrong impression of the Indian people. They are intelligent and have a goodness of heart that is rare,” Serra said. “Their thievery is only an uncontrollable curiosity about all the strange, new things around them.”
“I will inform of the Junta’s decision, just as soon as I have heard from them.”
Father Serra rose from his chair. “The people in California will be indebted to you forever, your Excellency.”
The Viceroy led the little priest to the door. “Oh, Padre, I almost forgot,” Bucareli said, reaching into his jacket pocket and extracting an envelope.
Father Serra was surprised when the Viceroy pressed the package into his hand. “What is this?” he asked.
“Your children have many friends,” Bucarelli said smiling, “myself included.”
“May God bless you, your Excellency. I will purchase books and cloth for the children of Carmel and I will tell them who to thank for this generosity.”
“May the Master we both serve go with you, Father Serra.”
Viceroy Bucareli watched the padre limp down the hallway, turn left toward the stairs, and disappear. Then he crossed his office to the window and stood watching, as the limping priest came out of the shadows and, with difficulty, mounted the small donkey. It was obvious that Father Serra was ill and exhausted and yet there was a fire in the man, a very special warmth. “I shall pray for you, Father Serra,” the Viceroy said softly as he watched the old man melt into the crowd.
Father Serra rode down the busy streets of Mexico City but he found it difficult to rejoice. He felt that the meeting with Viceroy Bucareli had gone well but he prayed for God to forgive him whatever he might have overlooked during this crucial encounter.
On his return to San Fernando College, he rode through the gate and found the faithful Juan Evangelista waiting for him. “You look tired, Padre,” the lad said with concern. “You must go to your bed.”
Father Serra climbed down from the animal’s back and smiled. The warm morning sun reflected its light in his bright, clear eyes. “This trip has been worth all the effort, my young friend. The Viceroy is a friend of your people. I believe that he will see to it that things get better soon.”
“I would like to meet him before we leave.”
“You will. He has prepared a reception in your honor.”
Juan was surprised. “My honor? Me?”
The padre reached into the sleeve of his garment and extracted an envelope. “Yes, Juan, he has given us a gift to be used to benefit all of the children in Carmel.” Father Serra opened the envelope and counted the money. “Glory to God!” he exclaimed when he realized the amount.
“Is it a lot, Padre?”
“There are twelve thousand pesos here! he said. “We can buy music books, cloths, blankets, tools, and seeds.” He paused and looked at the boy. “And I hope you pick out something special for your parents and yourself,” he added. “You have earned it with your love and devotion to God.”
“How will we carry it all, Padre?”
“When you buy in quantity, the merchants will deliver your goods to any destination,” he said, “at least that’s what I’ve been told.”
“All the way to San Blas?” the Indian boy was awe-struck.
“All the way to San Blas,” Serra repeated laughing. “Let’s get started right away. Come!”
Juan followed the padre through the gate and down the street leading to the town market area. The cobblestone streets were crowded with busy shoppers. There was a multitude of goods displayed on both sides of the street. Father Serra stopped and bought a whole tableful of blankets for the new converts he expected to make in California. They looked at more bolts of cloth than young Juan thought existed and Father Serra picked out three large ones, paid for them, and told the man where they were to be delivered. The shopping spree continued past lunch time, until Father Serra realized that the youth was no longer with him.
Juan was in front of a dress shop, staring at a beautiful, white wedding gown made of silk. Small pink roses had been embroidered on the front, above the breast, and a long lace veil was displayed beside it. Father Serra watched the boy from a distance; he could see that Juan was mesmerized by the dress. Several minutes passed the Indian youth rejoined the priest.
Father Serra stopped a passing donkey cart that had oranges for sale, a fruit Juan had never seen before. The merchant gave two oranges to the padre and refused payment. Curious, Juan watched as Father Serra peeled the fruit, then he tried to peel his own. The juice ran down the boy’s face and his eyes lit up with pleasure as he tasted the sweetness.
In spite of the urgency of the matter, it took a long time for the Junta to deliberate the Viceroy’s message. Father Serra spent his time at study and Juan helped the friars in their gardens.
It was late one night, almost a year after their arrival, when Father Serra was informed of the Junta’s decision. He was reading a book when he heard a light knock on his door and was startled from his deep concentration. Father Verger opened the door slowly and peeked into the room. He had a letter in his hand. “I saw the light from your window,” he said softly. “This note from the Viceroy just arrived by special courier.”
Father Serra took the letter from the hand of his Guardian. “I’ve been waiting for this news for a long time.”
“Go ahead and read it, Padre. You will not rest until you do.”
Serra broke the seal on the letter, adjusted his glass and studied the note. The expression on his face changed from weariness to sheer joy.
“What does it say, Padre?”
“The people in California will rejoiced! The Junta has approved the ‘Representacion’ with only two minor changes.
Father Verger sighed in relief. “All of us have prayed,” he answered with a smile, “and I have prayed for this, both day and night. Congratulations, Father Serra.”
“I know you all have prayed,” he answered with a smile, “and I have done nothing for you. Therefore, this most unworthy priest begs your forgiveness and requests to kiss the sandaled feet of every friar, as a token of my loyalty and affection to the Order of St. Francis.
“All we want from you, my friend, is a complete recovery of your health.”
“There’s no time for that, Father Guardian. I will remain for the Viceroy’s reception tomorrow night and will leave the next morning to take this news back to California.”
“I know you well, Junipero. Therefore, I will have a coach ready to take you all the way to San Blas.” He paused with a warm smile.” “You are in condition to walk or even to ride a donkey.”
“I can’t do that, Father Guardian. I only borrowed the beast that carried me here. I must return it to a gentleman, a shipbuilder in San Blas.”
“I will instruct the driver to take his time to make the journey easier for you. The donkey can be tied to the back.”
Father Serra paused in thought. “I will consent to this only because you request it. “His face lit up. “And I will be able to reach California with this news a lot faster.”
“Father Verger’s expression changed. “By the way, the Dominicans have taken over in lower California. I pray that they don’t get their way and move our Order out of upper California as well.”
“They are angels but I wish they would find another place to work.”
“Father Crespi has written that all is going well at Mission San Carlos,” Verger said, “and Father Francisco Palou has asked to be transferred to upper California. He is waiting for your return and a permanent assignment.
Father Serra’s face softened in memory. “It’s been nearly twenty-five years since we were all together. What a joyful renunion it will be!”
Verger smiled, “Another good reason to take the coach.”
“All right, but only if the donkey comes with us.”
“I am sending Father Mugaretequi along, in case you fall too ill to get the boy safely back to his parents, heaven forbid!”
“I welcome Father Murgaretqui but I am well. I will remain will, although I may not dance all the dances tomorrow evening,” he added with a mischievous grin.
The Viceroy’s party was a great success. Everyone in attendance was impressed with the boy’s manners and intelligence. Juan had never before seen such wealth and elegance. He stared in amazement at the large crystal chandeliers, the long tables covered with food, and the well-dressed people dancing to music played by an orchestra.
It never occurred to him that he was being evaluated, as a human being, as a citizen of Spain, as a child of God, and as a representative of his people.
Father Serra knew, however, and his smile widened as it became apparent that the evaluations, for the most part, were favorable. (Mark Brunelle, Fray Junipero Serra. Carmel-by-the Sea, California, Dormonte Publications, 1987, pp. 33-43.)
Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., fought for justice for the Indians of California not by means of riots and protests. He went to the authorities. He waited for nearly a year to receive the answer to his prayers and sacrifices. He would have accepted any decision made by the Junta. It was solely the spiritual and temporal good of those he served that mattered to him in order to continue the work of the conversion of souls for which he had spent himself to the point of his own death nine months after his seventieth birthday on November 24, 1783.
Indeed, showing himself to have had no part as “prophesying” the “dialogue” and “encounter” of Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the counterfeit church of conciliarism, Fray Junipero Serra. O.F.M., specifically told his brother friars before he died that he would be praying for all of his converts and for those as yet unconverted, hardly the stuff of conciliarism:
“I beseech you, Padre,” [Father] Palou began, “when you draw near the presence of the Holy Trinity, offer adoration on my behalf. And after that, never forget me.”
Serra nodded his head. Palou continued. “Also remember these missions that you are leaving orphaned and the people here with you now.”
“I promise you that if God grants me the eternal reward, which I don’t deserve, I will pray for each and every one of you and also for all of those who are still unconverted.” (Mark Brunelle, Fray Junipero Serra. Carmel-by-the Sea, California, Dormonte Publications, 1987, p. 75.)
Not a hint of the blasphemy that Bergoglio uttered two days ago now. Conversion is of the Catholic Faith. “Dialogue” and “encounter” are the stuff of apostasy.
As noted at the beginning of this commentary, Father Serra died on August 28, 1784, the Feast of Saint Augustine of Hippo. The bells of Mission San Carlos de Borromeo, where he is entombed in the stone church that he so longed to build that became known as the Basilica of Saint Charles Borromeo in what is known now as Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, on the Monterery Peninsula. It was none other than his former adversary, the very much interiorly-converted Governor Pedro Fages, who said a few words about the great missionary, Fray Junipero Serra, O.F.M., before the public could pay their last respects to his mortal remains:
Father Francisco Palou made all of the arrangements for the funeral. He dressed his teacher and friend in a fresh robe of the Franciscan Order. Father Serra was placed on a bier and laid before the altar in the chapel. Soldiers blocked the entrance while the preparations were being made, their lances to block the way. Governor Pedro Fage stood in front of the door with Lieutenant Morago on one side and Lieutenant Jose Francisco Ortega on the other. The small mission compound was filled with thousands of people. From the governor’s vantage point he could see people walking toward the chapel in a never-ending flow from the hills surrounding the mission: soldiers of every rank, sailors, ships’ captains, colonists, Christian and non-Christian Indians and their chiefs. As they entered the mission compound, each was given a single flower to be given as a parting gift to their Father and friend.
Inside the church, Fathers Palou and Noriega finished their preparations. Father Serra rested in a simple redwood casket. He was dressed in a gray robe with a new white cord tied around his waist. A metal crucifix rested in his folded hands. His hair was snow white and his face was still slightly brown from all the weathering it had taken.
The Indian children, who made up the choir, were dressed powder-blue, pajama-like costumes. They were all in their places, waiting for Father Noriega to lead them in song. Father Palou let himself out through the side entrance informed the governor that all was ready.
Pedro Fages stepped forward with raised hands and the crowd fell silent immediately, although most of them were still in tears. The mission bells stopped their dirge.
The governor spoke, “We have all assembled here today to pay our last respects to a man who has influenced our lives,” he began. “But how many of us realize that this gentle servant of God has influenced the history of this great and abundant land forever? Without his love, dedication, and undying faith in God, this land would still be nothing but an untamed wilderness.” Fages paused to clear his throat and to wipe the tears from his eyes. “A long time ago, before I realized the things that I am telling you today, I called this man ‘a lover of flowers’ and ‘a lover of children.’ I said that in contempt, in the heat of anger. But now I repeat the statement because I am moved by his love. Long after all of us have been forgotten and our tombstones have turned into dust, millions of people will come from the ends of the earth to stand by his grave and pay homage to Father Junipero Serra.”
The bells began to peal again. The doors to the chapel were swung open and the people entered in a single file. The choir began to sing the Gregorian chants and their voices out of the small room like the boom of a cannon. One by one they filed past the body of Father Junipero Serra. Each made the sign of the cross as they passed and each dropped a single Rose of Castile on the bier and left through the side door. In a very short time, the body of the little priest seemed to be floating on an ocean of pink roses. They were piled high and they spilled over the communion rail and out onto the main floor. (Mark Brunelle, Fray Junipero Serra. Carmel-by-the Sea, California, Dormonte Publications, 1987, pp. 77-78.)
The state legislature of California may very well succeed in removing the statue of Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., from the National Statuary Hall that features the Cross he carried with him everywhere, the Cross of the Divine Redeemer that he planted in the soil of California and that took such deep roots there that the devil himself has had to attack this once Catholic land with all of the fury of sin and blood and the abuse of civil authority by petty politicians and unelected bureaucrats and judges who make Pontius Pilate look like a statesman. And if I may borrow a phrase of a native Californian, who was born in Yorba Linda, California, on January 13, 1913, who was probably unfamiliar with the work of Father Serra, “make no mistake about” it: It is hatred of the Cross of the Divine Redeemer that was held aloft by Father Junipero Serra, O.F.M., in California, over three hundred years ago now that is motivating the current effort against him in the political realm and that causes the Argentine Apostate to try to recast a Catholic missionary into something that he was not. For unlike Bergoglio and Karol Wojtyla before him, Father Junipero Serra never hid the Cross of Christ the King from public view for any kind of “pastoral” or “ecumenical” reason. That, however, will be the subject of the concluding part of this commentary.
We must, of course, keep ever close to Our Lady, especially in this month of May, praying our Rosaries with attentiveness and fervor, remembering also to pray to Saint Monica every day and today, her feast day, for the salvation of the souls of our children.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and the hour of our death.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Monica, pray for us.