Junipero Serra statue at Mission Santa Ines
This is one of a series of statues of Blessed Junipero Serra which have been place at all the California missions by the William H. Hannon Foundation.
From their website:
"William Hannon had a special dedication to one of California’s founding fathers-Franciscan Friar Junípero Serra, the founder of California’s Missions.
William’s fascination with early California history and real estate led to his admiration for Father Serra. He often said, “Father Serra was the first developer of California. If you buy real estate, buy within a twenty mile radius of a Mission. California’s twenty-one Missions are all near fertile soil and water.”
To promote the spirit and contributions of Father Serra, the William H. Hannon Foundation commissioned an artist to design a life life size bronze statue of Father Serra. From this single mold, the Foundation had almost one hundred more statues cast and placed at the California Missions and at various Catholic schools and universities. The William H. Hannon Foundation has placed statues from Santa Clara University in Northern California to the University of San Diego in Southern California.
One can find the statues of Father Serra in the playground areas of many of Los Angeles' Catholic elementary schools. William and other Foundation Directors would travel to the schools personally to inspect where Father Serra would stand, and they later would attend the dedication ceremonies for the statues. William called Father Serra, “the drinking fountain father,” since he wanted the statue placed close to a school’s drinking fountains so that children could see Father Serra every day. At dedication ceremonies, where a school’s student body often was assembled, William would encourage the children to rub Father Serra’s toe for good luck. He would tell the children, “After all, he walked all across California, so those toes are lucky; maybe rubbing his toe will help on your next big test.”
A devout Catholic, William wanted to renew an interest in Father Serra and eventually have Father Serra declared a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Today, the Catholic Church is going through the lengthy process of establishing Sainthood for Father Junípero Serra."