With the announcement this weekend of the twin canonization of Pope John XXIII, who called the Second Vatican Council and was beloved by liberal Catholics and Pope John Paul II, more revered by conservatives, it is time to look at what is happening with the candidates in the cemetery at Mission Dolores.
Nina Goodby wrote about the “Race to Sainthood” in 2009.
Shaded in the old cemetery at Mission Dolores, two statues wait for Rome’s word.
The first: Father Junipero Serra, the missionary celebrated by many for founding 9 of California’s 21 missions – including Mission Dolores on June 29, 1776 – and shunned by some Native Americans for his treatment of their ancestors. Serra died in 1784.
The second, a representative of those ancestors: The Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk woman born over a century earlier, in upstate New York. For years her statue stood as the only symbol of the Native Americans who lived and died near Mission Dolores. Ifcanonized, Kateri will become the Catholic Church’s first Native American saint.