• 01 Jul 22

Jul 1 - “St. Junipero Serra” © artwork by Brenda Nippert. Happy Feast Day St. Junipero!

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Miguel Jose Serra was born in Majorca, Spain in 1713. His parents were farmers and as Miguel grew, they noticed he was a gifted child as he excelled in his studies, especially Latin. He also had a strong singing voice and a knack for creative problem solving, all of which would serve him well in his future adventures. He became a Franciscan priest and excelled as a teacher, becoming a professor at only 24. Because of his obvious gifts in academics, everyone was surprised when his extraordinary zeal for spreading the Gospel inspired him to become a missionary in the new world. Little did they know, it would take a brilliant man to reach the heights Serra would reach in his accomplishments for the faith.

He first arrived in Mexico where he taught and evangelized for several years before being chosen to go to California to take over a budding Mission system from the Jesuits. As the conquistadors marched through the vast wilderness, building forts and conquering the land for Spain, Father Serra and his band of Franciscans converted the natives and enlisted their help to build Missions. He then taught the new converts to farm with new methods and live in community as Christians. Father Serra poured out his life to bring the natives of California to God. In a short time, he converted over six thousand and built nine missions. His influence is still felt today, as God is stilled praised at the missions he founded and he is recognized as playing a major role in California history with numerous statues, shrines, museums, and even schools and streets that bear his name in the state he helped create and throughout the country.

His feast day is July 1.