Saint Junipero Serra was born in 1713 on the island of Mallorca, Spain. In 1929, at the age of 16 years old, Saint Junipero entered the Order of Friar Minors and was eventually ordained a priest after years of training. At the University of Padua (Italy), he was an instructor in the disciplines of philosophy and theology. He went to Mexico City at the age of 37 years old and would remain in the New World as a missionary until his death in 1784. As the missions spread from Mexico into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, Saint Junipero was responsible for the spread of the mission churches on the Western Coast of the United States of America. Saint Junipero Serra is credited with the founding of nine missions and converting thousands to the Catholic faith with his zeal for the faith. The Franciscans that served with him and after him founded twelve more missions.
In the Dioceses of the United States of America his feast day is July 1. However, since his feast day falls on a Sunday this year, the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time takes precedence. Even if you’re not in the United States, I would encourage you to learn more about this great missionary saint. What makes us Catholic is the universality of the Church and the knowledge about our brother and sister saints that have gone before us in our great faith no matter what part of the world you live in today.
The Franciscan Missions were being set up in what would eventually become the United States of America because of the ability to worship God freely. Religious Freedom played a major contribution to the rise of the missions in the United States. As we continue on the Fortnight of Freedom, let us pray that all people around the world have the right to religious freedom, but most especially here in the States. Our religious freedom is under attack due to the HHS Mandate. Religious Freedom rooted in the Natural Law is fundamental to the existence of mankind.
To learn more about Saint Junipero Serra, see the links below:
Saint Junipero Serra…Pray for Us!
Updated Wednesday, September 23, 2015, the day Pope Francis canonized him.