“Saint” Explores Divided Reactions Over Bestowing Sainthood on Spanish Missionary

by Mike Martz on September 15, 2015

Later this month, Pope Francis will visit the United States.  During his visit, the Pope will canonize 18th century Spanish priest Junipero Serra, who founded the first nine Spanish Missions in California.  Serra traveled from his station in Mexico to bring Christianity to the Native population of California. The Pope has called Serra “the evangelizer of the West in the United States.”
However, the decision to raise Serra to sainthood has sparked controversy among California Indians. Historians speculate that Serra may have intended to convert California Indians, but the Spanish soldiers who populated the missions had other motives.
Many believe Serra allowed Spanish soldiers to commit atrocities against the Native peoples of California.    Soldiers administered corporal punishment and committed sexual assault against Natives.
Some see Serra as a saint, while others paint him the villain.   Saint explores both sides of the controversy.   This film was produced by Vision Maker Media’s intern, Charles Perry, as part of his multimedia internship with KVCR/FNX. Watch online

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