MALIBU — The Junipero Serra Statue at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu appeared to be vandalized on the night of Thursday, August 6.
The statue was shattered and broken in half with the priest’s head laying at the base of the statue at the Serra Retreat Center, a Catholic retreat and conference center. The statue was named after a Roman Catholic Franciscan Friar named Miquel Josep Serra who led the expansion of the California mission system during the Spanish colonization in the 18th century.
The Malibu residents were disturbed by the scene with Resident Anne Payne stating to the Malibu Times that the crime in this “place of peace” to be “malicious, especially knowing that someone had planned and sneaked in.”
First reported on July 25, the $10,000 statue had been initially damaged before as the vandals broke its fingers off to leave the middle finger intact. Another Junipero Serra statue in downtown Los Angeles had also been brought to the ground by activists on June 20 on Olvera Street, regarding statements of the statue representing social controversies including mass incarceration and enslavement. In Orange County, Mission San Juan Capistrano and Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano had moved two statues of Junipero Serra in June to ensure its protection from vandalism, relocating the statue from the front courtyard to inside the building.
The Serra Retreat Center was initiated by a tradition that began in 1943 to welcome groups and introduce private retreats/workshops by the Franciscan Friars. In addition to the group retreats, meetings and conferences, and personal retreats, there have also memorials and funerals held there. Currently, it is closed to the public.