Saint Junipero Serra
Born: November 24, 1713 in Petra, Majorca, Spain (as Miguel Jose Serra Ferrer)
Died: August 28, 1784 at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, Las Californias, New Spain, Spanish Empire (Modern day Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, U.S.)
Beatified: September 25, 1988 by Pope John Paul II
Venerated: Roman Catholic Church
Canonized: September 23, 2015 by Pope Francis
Feast Day: July 1
Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November 24, 1713, and took the name of Junipero when in 1730 he entered the Franciscan Order. Ordained in 1737, he taught philosophy and theology at the University of Padua until 1749.
At the age of 37, he landed in Mexico City on January 1, 1750, and spent the rest of his life working for the conversion of the peoples of the New World.
In 1768, Father Serra took over the missions of the Jesuits (who had been wrongly expelled by the government) in the Mexican province of Lower California and Upper California (modern California). An indefatigable worker, Serra was in large part responsible for the foundation and spread of the Church on the West Coast of the United States when it was still mission territory.
He founded 21 missions and converted thousands of Indians. The converts were taught sound methods of agriculture, cattle raising, and arts and crafts.
Junipero was a dedicated religious and missionary. He was imbued with a penitential spirit and practiced austerity in sleep, eating, and other activities. On August 28, 1784, worn out by his apostolic labors, Father Serra was called to his eternal rest. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988. His statue, representing the State of California, is in National Statuary Hall.
PRAYER: Almighty, eternal God, You dedicated the joy of this day to the glorification of Blessed Junipero. Mercifully grant that we may strive to retain and complete by our works that Faith which he continually proclaimed with insatiable zeal. Amen.