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

Featured

In Emanuel Leutze’s mural, a group of pioneers and their train of covered wagons are pictured at the continental divide, looking towards the sunset and the Pacific Ocean. The border depicts vignettes of exploration and frontier mythology. Beneath the central composition is a panoramic view of their destination “Golden Gate,” in San Francisco Bay.
Emanuel Leutze’s mural celebrates the western expansion of the United States....

Featured

Snapshot of a crowd of people on a guided tour through the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol
Official Tours of the U.S. Capitol Building are offered Monday through...

Featured

East Front of the U.S. Capitol Building
AOC’s annual Performance and Accountability Report provides the results of the...

Featured

CVC Visitor Guide Julie Butler leads a group of visitors through National Statuary Hall.
The ExCEL Program provides opportunities for jurisdictions to work together and...

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