16 Comments

  1. I didn’t new that California had an Apostole. Here México is hard to find a city with an apostole or an apostole for the whole country.
    I love the story of the apostole from Spain, the apostole Santiago.

    • History treats the “Apostle of California” kindly–in the official sense, that is. But I’m curious about the stories behind his story. How and why, for instance, did the Acagchemem (and other indigenous) people decide to adopt the padres’ vision and ways of living? I remember musing about that when I first visited the Mission SJC, way back in the 4th grade.

      • Well… Serra’s history and the history of the missions as a whole carry a lot of violence and death, sadly enough. There was a lot of oppression and forced conversion. it’s not the neat and tidy “kumbaya” sort of history that I remember being spoon-fed back in school. Lots of sadness surrounding the treatment of the Native Americans.

    • Me, too–Some more so than others. At the risk of sounding all woo-woo, but I sense a darkness in some that I don’t experience in others. The atmosphere is very peaceful at SJC.

  2. There is some dark stuff in California history, but I don’t recall reading that Serra was one of the Mean Monks. (This reminds me I really need to revisit CA history, which is tremendously wild and wooly)

    • The Catholic church has actually begun the process of bestowing sainthood on (Blessed) Father Serra. I didn’t know that until just recently.

      He seems like a kindly sort, in the stories I’ve been told. And to your point, it’s true that historians accord many positive attributes & accomplishments to this man. I’m not sure they’re in agreement about the mission system itself, however. It’s a mixed bag, a mixed blessing.

      In one of the museum galleries, I saw the text of an early historian who pleaded the case for a team of objective archeologists, people better equipped to oversee the mission’s restoration and to record its stories for posterity. (The project was being supervised by priests at the time.)

      • Interesting. I don’t know anything about California history except for watching Zorro (tv series and movie). 😉 Father Serra sounds like an interesting person.

        • As it is with so many historical figures, I’d love to hear a firsthand account of Father Serra’s life & adventures.

          The SJC Mission hosted a really fun Zorro exhibit a while back. Talk about interesting…it seemed to me a wee bit out of place. But if I recall correctly SJC is featured in at least one Zorro flick (possibly more). 🙂

  3. Ahh, Memories

    This reminded me of the statue on the 280 freeway, going from San Jose to San Francisco. Enormous, kneeling figure of Fr Serra, at the top of a hill, pointing out toward the San Andreas break (a natural reservoir), but coming around that turn, it always appeared he was pointing right at YOU. I’m sure I wasn’t the only Catholic making that drive who felt an immediate urge to go to confession.

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