Essay junipero serra

Submitted By sergmarq2011
Words: 891
Pages: 4

In Junipero Serra’s biography by Steven Hackel, the author depicts the life of Father Serra who would be remembered in history as one of the most influential people of California. Father Serra, born in 1713 in the island of Mallorca would grow up to become California’s Founding Father. In this biography, the author uses primary sources to examine the life of the Franciscan priest, which allows the reader to learn who this man was and the impact he had in the colonization of California. Today, Father Serra can be seen as a controversial figure in history since some may view him as heroic and saintly man, while others may view him as a an evil man for his wrongdoings against the Native Indians of California. The author examines and analyzes Serra’s early life as it played an important role in the shaping of his character and beliefs as a priest. Growing up in a poor family in Petra, Mallorca, Miguel Joseph spent a lot of his childhood in the convento church of San Bernardino where he was educated and was also his place of worship. As stated by the author, “From an early age Miguel Joseph understood the Fransiscan life as one committed to building Catholic houses of worship and spreading the gospel” (22). Miguel Joseph’s religious upbringing would dictate the man he would become and the influence he would have in the creation of missions in California. Leaving his family behind, Miguel Joseph embarked on a journey where he would give his life to the institution of the Catholic Church to follow God’s will. As the author explains, Miguel Joseph went on to follow his dream of becoming a priest and before his profession to the order was completed he decided to change his name to Junipero Serra. Serra’s early life is very important to analyze as it influenced his religious beliefs and his decision to travel to California and spread the gospel of God. Serra’s early life as a preacher and professor would dictate his decision to become a missionary at the age of 36, where he would embark in a journey to the new world. Serra spent his first years as a missionary in Mexico in several missions where he would fulfill God’s will in spreading the gospel. Francisco Palou, a missionary from Mallorca joined Serra in his journey to the new world and it is through his biography of Serra, Relacion Historica, published in 1787 that historians have been able to study and examine the life and work of Serra. After years of ministering and serving as a comisario of the inquisition in Mexico, Serra was given the opportunity he had been searching for and so he embarked on a mission program up north to California. There he would further extend Spain’s frontier and would begin to build the missions of California. Serra is depicted by the author as a man that was determined and committed in fulfilling his calling in converting the Indians to the holy Catholic faith. In a letter to Palou from Serra, he explains how California is “not only fertile soil and sources of freshwater but also an immense population of unbaptized Indians awaiting conversion” (161). Serra believed that California was a promised land and converting the Indians would be a simple task, “In their innocent state, the California Indians would be converted at the mere sight of the Franciscans” (162). However, as noted by the author, the Indians were unhappy with the Spanish Intruders and as a result, Serra’s efforts to spread the catholic faith was challenged