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Monday, July 1, 2013

Saint Junipero Serra - July 1

Saint Junipero Serra 
July 1 

Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca, Spain, in 1713.  He entered the Franciscan Order in 1730, taking the name Junipero.  Ordained in 1737 he taught for philosophy and theology at the University of Padua twelve years.  In December of 1749 he crossed the Atlantic to Vera Cruz, Mexico then walked 275 miles to Mexico City where he became a missionary for eight years among the Pame Indians.

At the age of 53, Junipero traveled to Lower California as the newly appointed president of the peninsula's fifteen missions. A few years later he volunteered to help settle the missions of Upper California, arriving after a 750 mile land journey in San Diego July 1, 1769.

On July 14 Junipero Serra established the first Christian settlement in Upper California, Presidio-Mission San Diego de Alcala.  He went on to establish nine more missions, with a total of twenty-one missions eventually being established along the El Camino Real, from San Diego to Sonoma, a distance of 700 miles.

At 70 years of age, after traveling some 24,000 miles, Father Junipero Serra died at Mission San Carlos Borromeo and is buried there under the sanctuary floor. He was proclaimed Blessed by Blessed Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988.

Photo Credits - L. A. Momboisse
Father Serra Statue front garden Mission San Carlos Borromeo.
Monument commemorating the missionary labors of Spain in California - Given to Mission San Carlos Borromeo in 1948 by The Institute of Hispanic Culture of Madrid.
Cenotaph memorial of Father Serra Mission San Carlos Borromeo -  by Jo J. Mora in 1924.

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