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Junipero Serra - Founder of the California Missions

Item Number: 12610

Catalog Code: M:JS-H

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Junipero Serra

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In 18th-century Spain, daring stories of missionaries spreading the good news of the Gospel in the New World ignited the imagination of a devout young boy. Miguel Serra’s dream soon became a reality. As Franciscan friar Junípero Serra, he traveled to the New World and tirelessly preached the love of Christ to the natives living in the unchartered wilderness of California. His motto was, “Always forward, never back.”

Pope Francis will canonize Father Serra on September 23 during his historic visit to the USA.

Join the “founding father of California” on his amazing journey and experience the saintly missionary zeal that led to the establishment of the 21 Catholic missions in California. His presence and work are still very much alive through these beautiful missions that are visited by millions of people every year.


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1"  (2.54 cm) x 8 1/2"  (21.5 cm)
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Bl. Junipero Serra

Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 07/01

Also known as
    Apostle of California
    Miguel José Serra Ferrer

    1 July (United States)
    28 August (elsewhere)

    Entered the Franciscan University at Palma at age 15, and joined the Order at age 17, taking the name Junipero after the friend of Saint Francis. Ordained in 1737, and taught philosophy and theology at the Lullian University.

    In 1749, Serra was sent to the missionary territories of the west of North America. A mosquito bite he received early in his trip to the New World left one leg swollen; this and his asthma made walking a painful process for the rest of his life. In 1768 he took over missions in the Mexican provinces of Lower and Upper California, missions the Jesuits were forced to abandon by order of King Charles III. A tireless worker, Serra was largely responsible for the foundation and spread of the Church on the West Coast of the United States. Founded twenty-one missions, converted thousands of Native Americans, and trained many of them in European methods of agriculture, cattle husbandry, and crafts. Dedicated religious and missionary, penitent and austere in all areas of his life.

    Blessed Junipero Serra is the namesake of the Serra Club, an international Catholic organization dedicated to the promotion of vocations, and the support of seminarians and religious novices. Many of his letters and other writings have survived, and the diary of his travels to the west was published in the early 20th century.

    24 November 1713 at Petra, Spanish Majorca as Miguel Jose Serra

    28 August 1784 of tuberculosis at Mission San Carlos, California, USA of natural causes
    buried at Carmel, Monterey, California

    9 May 1985 by Pope John Paul II

    25 September 1988 by Pope John Paul II


All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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