Stewards of the iconic buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill since 1793.

Featured

Lying in State of President Gerald Ford in the rotunda.
The Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol has been considered the most suitable place...

Featured

View of the U.S. Capitol Building from above at dusk
In order to ensure the safety of visitors and staff and to preserve the...

Featured

An AOC worker mowing the grass on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol
The roles and responsibilities of the Architect of the Capitol cover an...

Featured

Early House of Representatives Chamber (artist representation)
Too hot or too cold – there is no pleasing everyone when it comes to the right...

Father Junipero Serra

Father Junipero Serra statue
Ettore Cadorin
Artist

Bronze
Given by California in 1931
National Statuary Hall
U.S. Capitol

Overview 

This statue of Father Junipero Serra was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection by California in 1931. He is recognized as one of the most important Spanish missionaries in the New World.

Father Junipero Serra (Miguel Jose Serra) was born in Majorca on November 24, 1713, he joined the Franciscan Order at the age of 16. He soon gained prominence as an eloquent preacher and eventually became a professor of theology. His dream was to become a missionary to America. He arrived in Mexico City in 1750 to begin this new life.

In 1769 he established a mission at the present site of San Diego, California, the first of a number that would include San Antonio, San Buenaventura, San Carlos, San Francisco de Assisi, San Gabriel, San Juan Capistrano, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Clara. This was a herculean task considering that Father Serra was already in his fifties and suffered from a chronic ulcerated condition in one leg. Serra was ascetic and uncompromising in his zeal to convert the Indians to Christianity and to make his missions self sufficient. Inhabitants built their own homes, spun wool for garments, and pursued careers as masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, and millers; thousands of barrels of grain were kept in reserve supply, and herds of cattle, sheep, horses, and swine were maintained.

The ulcerated condition of Serra's leg eventually spread to his chest. At the age of 71, aware of his deterioration, he made a final visit to his missions. The well-known and beloved missionary died in Monterey, California, on August 28, 1784; his missions continued to flourish for another 50 years.

Last Updated: October 10, 2014