History books paint a fairly pleasant picture of Father Junipero Serra, a Roman Catholic priest and friar often celebrated for his efforts in building modern-day California. Pope Francis even canonized Junipero on a visit to Washington D.C. But in recent years, historians have started digging deeper into the “Apostle of California” — and few liked what they found.

Serra was born to a poor Spanish family in 1713. His father sent him off to a Franciscan school where Serra received high grades, convincing him to join the Franciscan order. By age 24, he was officially Father Junipero Serra. What’s a celibate young man to do but spend his days studying?

University of Southern California / Contributor