Mission Dolores. Courtesy of Michel Mintaka, Flickr Creative Commons.

Earlier today, while on tour of the Philippines, Pope Francis announced he’d canonize Spanish friar,—but not just any friar, it’s Junípero Serra. As Alta California’s “Father Presidente,” Serra oversaw the founding of 21 of California’s Spanish Missions, including Mission de San Francis of Asís (aka our very own Mission Dolores).

In the cemetery at Mission Dolores.

Now there are two saints who have statues in the Mission Dolores cemetery. We wrote about their race to sainthood  in 2009.  The Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha became a saint in October, 2012.

Here’s what San Francisco’s Archbishop Cordileone has to say about the rising status of the religious icon with deep NorCal ties:

Considered a founding father of California, Serra’s history with the state’s indigenous peoples isn’t without some blemishes—if you can call forced labor and corporal punishment blemishes.

Regardless, California’s getting a Saint. Maybe we’ll get a papal visit.

Daniel Hirsch

Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top...

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  1. Later in the year Pope Francis is to canonize Fra. Serra as a saint. Under Serra’s authority, Tribes throughout California were subjected to slavery, torture, rape, disease, and near annihilation. There is petition that has been initiated opposing the Pope. The petition has gone world-wide. Attached is the link to the petition. Through your resources, it is imperative to pass along this information. Making Serra a saint would condone the atrocities initiated by the missionaries and an insult to all Native People across this Nation.


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