California’s Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties but keep a street named after him.
Stanford University announced the changes Sept. 13, saying in a statement that the saint, canonized in the U.S. during Pope Francis’ apostolic visit in 2015, established a mission system that, while part of California history, it also was one that “inflicted great harm and violence on Native Americans.”
Stanford said it has several “features named for Serra even though he played no direct role in the university’s history.”
Serra Mall, a main avenue on the university’s Palo Alto campus, Serra dormitory and Serra House will be renamed, the university said, but Serra Street, will keep its name.
“Revisiting how we think about historical figures is a challenging undertaking that requires care and humility,” said Jeff Raikes, chair of the university’s board of trustees in the statement released by Stanford. “With the passage of time, we gain new understanding of historical events, the people who shaped them and the effects of those events on others. At the same time, we know that all individuals’ lives are imperfect and that any exercise to evaluate a historical figure by present-day standards has limitations.”
The recommendation to remove the saint’s name from some features and not from others “reflected the complex nature of Serra’s legacy and his lack of a direct role in the university’s own history” said Raikes, the board of trustee’s chair.
During his canonization Mass at Washington’s National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Sept. 23, 2015, the pope praised St. Junipero Serra as a witness “who testified to the joy of the Gospel in these lands,” one who left his native Spain to blaze trails to export the Gospel to other parts of the world.
Full story at Angelus.
Inflicted harm and violence on the war parties that attacked them. Offered salvation, food, shelter and education for the peaceful. Don’t confuse missionaries with conquistadors. Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.
Thank you for restoring the necessary balance to the history of Junipero Serra!
History, like most stories, usually has two sides to it.
many Native Amereicans say the Spanish were harsh colonial masters. Defenders of the Spanish say they were wonderful. I would imagine the Native Americans would have a difficult time making perhaps subtle distinctions between the missionaries and the conquistadors.
The New Puritans.
It’s a private school. It can do whatever it wants with its own property. That’s not to say this isn’t an example of political correctness run amok, but they can do that if they want.
To be consistent they should look into the offensive things Leland Stanford (founder of the university) said about Chinese immigrants and the superior white race. Maybe students and the media should demand that the name and image of Stanford be removed from all buildings and the school change its name rather than be named after an anti-Asian, white supremacist. Start a twitter campaign. Ironic, now, that Asians are the superior students at Stanford’s university.
The glory days are gone.
Stanford family was pretty clearly racist
in building their railroad empire. Suggest the
University simply be called “Stan.” Folks can
reflect on the benign Stan Laurel or Stan – the man – Musial.
Either that or Tall Tree College