St. Junipero Serra: A life of faith and mission

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St. Junipero Serra
A painting of St. Junipero Serra hangs in the Santa Barbara Mission Archives-Library in Santa Barbara, Calif. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

St. Junipero Serra

Feast day: July 1

Miguel Jose Serra was born on the Mediterranean island of Majorca in 1713. He entered the Franciscan order in 1730, taking the name Junipero to honor a companion of St. Francis of Assisi. After being ordained, he taught philosophy and theology for a time. In 1749, Junipero volunteered for mission work among the Native Americans of Mexico and Texas. He went on to found 21 missions along the California coast and helped to bring the Faith to thousands of Native Americans. Junipero died in 1784, and in 2015, he became the first canonized Hispanic-American saint. He is patron of vocations and California missions.


O God, who by your ineffable mercy
have been pleased through the labors
of your priest Blessed Junípero Serra
to count many American peoples within your Church,
grant by his intercession
that we may so join our hearts to you in love,
as to carry always and everywhere before all people
the image of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

Our Sunday Visitor Staff

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