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In September 2015, Junípero Serra was canonized by Pope Francis in Washington DC against the protest of many Californian Native Americans who criticized his brutal treatment of their ancestors and destruction of their culture. Like most complex historical figures, Junípero Serra has been interpreted in countless ways, often contextualized mainly in California. This book situates Serra in the context of the three major places that he lived, learned, and proselytized: Mallorca, Mexico, and Alta California and uses scholars from all three countries to create a rare glimpse into the life of the saint in three cultural dimensions. Essays on his use of music and art, and his representation in popular culture chart the life and impact of Serra, his education, and ideology, Franciscan influence, the plans and building of the missions, Native people and other important topics revolving around his life and history of Serra and the Catholic church in Mexico and California.
Steven W. Hackel is Professor of History at University of California Riverside and the author of Junipero Serra: California’s Founding Father, Alta California, and Children of Coyote.