St. Junípero Serra – Table of Contents
- Early Life
- Missionary Work in California
- Related Saints
- Related Prayers
- Birth: November 24, 1713
- Location: Spain
- Death: August 28, 1784
- Beatification: 1988 by Pope St. John Paul II
- Canonized: September 23, 2015 by Pope Francis
- Feast Day: August 28th (July 1st in USA)
- Patron Saint of: Vocations to Church ministry and builder of the Church on the west coast
St. Junípero Serra was born Miguel José Serra Ferrer on November 24, 1713, in Petra, Majorca, Spain. He was the seventh of eight children born to Antonio Nadal Serra and Margarita Rosa Ferrer. His parents were farmers, and Serra grew up working on the family farm.
Serra was a bright and inquisitive child, and he showed an early interest in religion. He attended the local Franciscan school, where he excelled in his studies. In 1730, at the age of 17, he joined the Franciscan order, taking the name Junípero after a close follower of St. Francis of Assisi.
Missionary Work in California
Recognized for his intellectual gifts, Junipero held the chair of philosophy at the prestigious Lullian University. He desired to leave those honors and comforts behind, however, to go and proclaim the Gospel to people who had never heard it. So, he became a missionary and was dispatched to the Americas.
To be able to share Christ with the native peoples, he befriended them, learned their language, trained them in farming, and worked alongside them. St. Junípero Serra defended the indigenous peoples from military abuses that were common during this period of Spanish colonization.
St. Junipero was a kind and compassionate man who brought Christianity and civilization to California. The missions he founded provided the native people with food, shelter, education, and medical care.
He spread the faith and founded many missions along the coast of California. After a long life of evangelization, Junipero died at Carmel in 1784 and was canonized in 2015.
St. Junipero Serra Quotes
- “Always go forward and never turn back.”
- “California is my life and there I hope to die.”
St. Junipero Serra Prayers
St. Junipero Serra is known for his dedication to the Catholic faith and his work helping native people. Here is a prayer to help us imitate his missionary zeal in bringing Christ to others:
“Saint Junipero Serra, from early childhood
you experienced prolonged pain and suffering,
yet with youthful innocence you did not lose
faith, hope or charity.
You placed your trust in God
and His holy purpose during your novitiate
and were able to overcome untold afflictions.
Obtain for me the grace to deepen my belief
in what God has revealed.
Strengthen my hope in Him
and intensify my love of Him in heart and deed.
This we pray through Christ our Lord.”
- St. Serra Catholic School – Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
- JSerra Catholic High School – San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
- Junipero Serra High School – San Mateo, Calif.
- Serra High School – Gardena, Calif.
- The Catholic Communities of Our Lady of the Snows and Saint Junipero Serra Churches – Phelan, Calif.
- Saint Junipero Serra Catholic Parish – Lancaster, Calif.
- St. Junipero Serra Parish – South Windsor, Conn.
- Serra Club of Maryland – Lagos, Nigeria
- St. Junipero Serra Parish – Seaside Park, N.J.
- Saint Junipero Institute of Diocese of Fort Worth – Fort Worth, Texas